African-American History Month - "That's what I want"

He’s still fighting for it, a fight that started decades ago. He was a powerful singer who turned into one of the best American songwriters. It all started on this day in West Point - the one in Mississippi, of course. He will be known forever for the one song, but forever linked to the controversy as well. When the song was first released the singer was also given writing credit. Whether he did or not, the song was a hit, the first of a multitude from the new label in 1960 and the first of many from the singer - there were no controversies about the songs he later wrote or co-wrote. A few years later a young lad named John heard the song. His foursome recorded it on their second album and performed it regularly. Several other acts took it to the charts in the 60’s and a New Wave band took it worldwide in 1979. If only for that monster song about the root of all evil. But that wasn’t all he wrote. With his writing partner he turned out hits for Marvin Gaye, the Undisputed Truth, and some of the best by the Temptations.

Happy Birthday Barrett Strong, born on this day in 1941, born in West Point and childhood gospel singer in Detroit. The performer (sometimes credited songwriter) of “Money (That’s What I Want), the first hit for Berry Gordy’s (who may have stolen writing credit) Motown empire, which of course was heard by John Lennon and performed by The Beatles from their earliest days and a huge hit for the Flying Lizards in 1979. He, with Norman Whitfield, co-wrote "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by both Marvin Gaye; Smiling Faces Sometimes" by the Undisputed Truth; and the Temptations’, "I Can't Get Next to You", "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" - covered by Love and Rockets, and "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" - for which he won a Grammy, and others. Last I could find, he was still fighting for credit on “Money…

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In my journeys over the last three years, both physical and personal/internal, I have discovered Memphis and a drive to create. This site will display my goals to informally promote and tell stories about Memphis and the surrounding areas - music, culture, history - through my observations, photography, and telling the stories of people I meet along the way.

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© 2016 by Wil Little Pitcher