Sunday, February 07, 2010

Barrett Strong: Money (That's What I Want)

A couple of weeks ago the castaway on Desert Island Discs was the boxing promoter Frank Warren. Far from offering the wall-to-wall "My Way" you might have feared, his choices displayed impeccable taste in music.

One of his eight records was this: the first Motown hit and a song better known in Britain from the cover version by the Beatles. It was Strong's only major hit as a vocalist, but he later became one of Motown's most important songwriters.

I love this version, which I can't recall having heard before; certainly, it makes the Beatles sound a bit tame. I like their piano introduction, which is copied from the original, but after that it is just three lovable moptops strumming away and John Lennon proving that his was not one of the great British soul voices.

And those who think George Martin was the Beatles' greatest creative influence - not "the fifth Beatle" but the first one - will not be surprised to learn that it was he who played the piano here.

I do have a weakness for the Flying Lizards' version though.


wolfi said...

OT: Jonathan, do you know that Steve Winwood will be performing tonight before the Siper Bowl in Miami - the Who will be on during the break.

German TV will broadcast the game, though probably we won't see/hear much in Europe I heard.

Jonathan Calder said...

Wolfi: And after I had worked so hard at not mentioning Steve Winwood or the Spencer Davis Group!

Yes I had heard that, and it is a tribute to the longevity of that generation of British pop musicians.

Oh well. If you like sixties British Motown covers, try this...

wolfi said...

Thanks Jonathan!

We're looking forward to the open air concert in Munich by Steve and Eric Clapton - got our tickets already, only four months to wait ...