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Friday, 5 February 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 36 - Levi Stubbs' Tears

Yesterday Billy Bragg's song 'Levi Stubbs' Tears' randomly popped into my head a couple of times. It's not unusual for such things to happen as my wife says I'm got a jukebox up there in part of my brain! Anyway, I'm always struck, when listening to this fourth single from the Bard of Barking, by the line: 

"Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong
Are here to make everything right that's wrong
Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too
Are here to make it all okay with you"

In those four lines of lyrics Bragg manages to bring together five of the finest Songwriters from the days of Motown and 60's Soul who penned so many amazing hits.

So this morning when I woke up that song was still in my head

Next I checked to see what things happened on this day in musical history (I have a couple of sites that I usually visit to glean this information) and there it was, jumping off the page, almost shouting at me: Today is the 75th birthday of Barrett Strong.

Barrett Strong was one of the first artists signed to Berry Gordy's Motown label and is the man who holds the distinction as having the young label's first hit in 1959 with 'Money (That's What I Want)'. The song, which Strong says he Co-wrote (and apparently did have a writers credit on the original release), has been at the centre of a legal storm for many years now because Strong had his name removed from the Copyright Registration three years after it was recorded and he has not received a Dime for his co-write. This song went on to greater popularity thanks to The Beatles, and many others including The Flying Lizards, The Doors, The Kingsmen, and John Lee Hooker being among just a few who have covered it.

Barrett was an artist in his own right but is probably better known for his songwriting alongside Norman Whitfield. Between them they wrote some classic tunes. Here's a few of them (click on the links to enjoy the music):

I Heard It Though The Grapevine - Gladys Knight and the Pips 1967 and Marvin Gaye 1968
I Wish It Would Rain - The Temptations 1968
Cloud Nine - The Temptations 1968
That's The Way Love Is - Marvin Gaye 1969
Psychedelic Shack - The Temptaions 1970
War - Edwin Starr 1970
Papa Was A Rollin' Stone - The Undisputed Truth 1972, The Temptations 1972

For more songs by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong CLICK HERE.

Happy Birthday Barrett Strong
Thanks Billy Bragg for the reminder

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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