Sunday night, August 28 at the BB Kings Blues Club, hit songwriter Barrett Strong was honored by BMI, Nashville Blues Society, The Galaxie Agency, TSU, 97.1 WRQQ, and World Music Nashville, along with hundreds of fans!
- “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
- “Smiling Faces”
- “Cloud Nine”
- “I Can’t Get Next to You”
- “Psychedelic Shack”
- “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)”
- “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”
- “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)”
The night was packed with killer performances by Markey, John Ford Coley, Sarah Buxton, Eliza Neals, and the McCrary Sisters just to name a few. One of the most memorable performances of the evening was when Barrett’s son Chelson Strong took the stage to perform his father’s hit “Ball of Confusion.” Chelson is a hip-hop artist in CA and he captivated the crowd. After his performance, he opened up about how his father encouraged him into a life of music. Chelson told the crowd his father encouraged him to always be relevant as a songwriter and that his father is as amazing a role model as he is songwriter – it was certainly one of the most touching points of the evening.
In between the celebration of songs, an auction was conducted to raise money to help Barrett with medical costs related to his recent stroke. Autographed guitars were hot items, but not as coveted as the hand-written lyrics “War” autographed by Barrett himself. A bidding war ensued starting at $500.00 and ending at just over $2100.00. The proud owner of the lyrics took the stage and taunted the crowd to come over to visit because that is the only place you will be able to see these lyrics now!
Sarah Buxton ended the official performance portion of the night with her colorful rendition of Barrett’s hit “Smiling Faces.” After this, Barrett was escorted to the stage by his son Chelson and he proceeded to share personal stories about his journey as a songwriter in legendary Motown. The crowd offered up questions and Barrett shared how proud he was of his ability to come up with unique grooves and always keep his music relevant.
The evening ended with a 10 minute rendition of “Heard It Through The Grapevine” with all the artists taking the stage to join in song and honor Barrett’s legendary career as a hit songwriter. The songs of Barrett Strong are most definitely an integral part of not only Motown but of music history as a whole. His songs will be the soundtrack for generations to come.
Money – Barrett Strong
Marvin Gaye – Heard It Through The Grapevine
The Temptations – Papa Was A Rolling Stone