added: 5 Sep 2013 // by: Music-News.com Newsdesk
The first big national hit for Motown was Money (That's What I Want) by Barrett Strong, a song that was, according to the copyright office, written by Janie Bradford and Barry Gordy..and Strong.
Strong says he has never seen a dollar from the song that started an empire and its all because of the lack of transparency at the U.S. copyright office.
According to an article from the New York Times, Strong's name was on the original copyright filing for the song in 1959 but, in 1962, Jobete Music, the publishing arm of Motown, filed to have Strong's name removed from the copyright. By law, Strong had three years to dispute the change but, because he had no idea that it had taken place, he took no action.
Barrett's name was put back on the copyright in 1987 but removed again a year later at the request of Motown executives. Again, he was unaware of the changes and Motown has taken the position that he had years to file a dispute and never took action.
Strong went on to have a very lucrative career and is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame with partner Norman Whitfield. Together, they wrote such classics as I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Smiling Faces Sometimes, War, Cloud Nine, I Can't Get Next to You, Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) and Papa Was a Rolling Stone.
Still, he would like his name put back on Money, both for the money and for his legacy. He told the Times 'If you give it away, you're giving away your life, your legacy. Once you're gone, those songs will still be playing.'
Stay updated with your free Music News daily newsletter. Subscribe here now!