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Barrett Robust, Motown singer and ‘I Heard It Via the Grapevine’ songwriter, useless at 81

Motown singer Barrett Robust has died on the age of 81.

His demise was confirmed to Fox Information Digital by Motown founder Berry Gordy.

“I’m saddened to listen to of the passing of Barrett Robust, one in every of my earliest artists, and the person who sang my first massive hit ‘Cash (That’s What I Need)’ in 1959,” Gordy mentioned in a press release.

The assertion continued, “Barrett was not solely an incredible singer and piano participant, however he, alongside together with his writing companion Norman Whitfield, created an unbelievable physique of labor, primarily with the Temptations. Their hit songs had been revolutionary in sound and captured the spirit of the instances like ‘Cloud 9’ and the nonetheless related, ‘Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Right this moment).’”


“My heartfelt condolences exit to his household and buddies. Barrett is an authentic member of the Motown Household and might be missed by all of us.”

Robust had but to show 20 when he agreed to let his good friend Gordy, within the early days of constructing a recording empire in Detroit, handle him and launch his music. Inside a 12 months, he was part of historical past because the piano participant and vocalist for “Cash,” a million-seller launched early in 1960 and Motown’s first main hit. 

Robust by no means once more approached the success of “Cash” on his personal, and a long time later fought for acknowledgment that he helped write it. Nonetheless, with Whitfield, he shaped a productive and eclectic songwriting crew.

Whitfield-Robust’s different hits, largely for the Temptations, included “I Can’t Get Subsequent to You,” “That’s the Means Love Is” and the Grammy-winning chart-topper “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” generally spelled “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”


Artists overlaying their songs ranged from the Rolling Stones (“Simply My Creativeness”) and Aretha Franklin (“I Want It Would Rain”) to Bruce Springsteen (“Struggle”) and Al Inexperienced (“I Can’t Get Subsequent to You”).

With “I Heard it Via the Grapevine,” the songwriters supplied an up-tempo, call-and-response hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips and a darkish, hypnotic ballad for Marvin Gaye, his 1968 model one in every of Motown’s all-time sellers.

Robust was not all the time part of Motown. Within the 1960s he recorded with different labels and once more departed the group within the 1970s to launch his personal albums – “Stronghold” and “Love is You.”

The musician was additionally voted into the Songwriters Corridor of Fame in 2004.

“Songs outlive individuals,” Robust instructed The New York Instances in 2013. “The actual cause Motown labored was the publishing. The information had been only a automobile to get the songs on the market to the general public. The actual cash is within the publishing, and in case you have publishing, then grasp on to it. That’s what it’s all about. When you give it away, you’re gifting away your life, your legacy. When you’re gone, these songs will nonetheless be taking part in.”

Robust was born in West Level, Mississippi and moved to Detroit a couple of years later. He was a self-taught musician who discovered piano while not having classes and, together with his sisters, shaped a neighborhood gospel group, the Robust Singers.

He would go on to work with artists akin to Franklin, Smokey Robinson and extra.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

This text was initially revealed by Learn the original article here.

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