Once upon a time in 1960, a tiny little record label in Detroit named “Motown” released a song called “Money (That’s What I Want)” (you may have heard of it) that became its first hit and the beginning of a musical movement. The artist and songwriter was a man named Barrett Strong, who became a pivotal figure in Motown’s formative years and one of the most influential songwriters of the last century. Teaming up with legendary producer Norman Whitfield, Strong is credited for giving the world such classics as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “Ball of Confusion,” “War,” and “Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me.”
Yeah, he’s kind of a big deal.
A handful of years ago, Strong started collaborating with some new Detroit musical talent and decided to take them under his legendary-Motown-figure wings. His first protogé is an incredibly talented woman whom I am lucky enough to call a good friend, Eliza Neals. Together, they co-wrote her albums “No Frogs for Snakes” and “Liquorfoot,” both available for download on iTunes.
This summer, they’re bringin’ Motown back. REAL Motown.
Written fifty years ago when he was only 16, Barrett Strong released a single called “Misery” that didn’t get the marketing that it deserved. Now, he’s re-releasing it, sung by Eliza, and she’s putting her awesome Detroit diva soul spin on this authentic Motown tune.
Below is the video, just released, and Strong makes a cameo alongside super producer Tino Gross, also of renowned funk band Howling Diablos. This is the sound of Detroit, folks — the sound that gave it the nickname “Motown,” the sound that started it all. And we all have Barrett Strong to thank.
The single will be available for download on iTunes soon (official date pending), but if you want it now, the only way you can get it is through email via private release. $3 will get you a limited edition copy of “Misery” with the video & outtakes with Barrett Strong and Tino Gross.
Eliza Neals lives in New York now but makes it home to The D once every couple months, and you can see her perform “Misery” and hear some more of her real Motown sound this Friday, July 2nd at Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak, and the following Monday, July 5th at Black Lotus in Clawson.
Find/hear more of Eliza Neals on iTunes, ReverbNation, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and Barrett Strong on MySpace and CD Baby.