The original version of “Money (That’s What I Want)” from 1959 was Motown’s first hit. I like early Motown records better than the later ones with strings – they are rougher R&B and less mainstream. I’ll take the Marvelettes over the Supremes any day. This song was co-written by Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford and sung by Barrett Strong. Strong is best known as a co-author of many Temptations records rather than as a performer. It’s a great song with a very simple theme – “I need money”.
The Beatles covered it in 1963. This is the best Beatles cover – John Lennon just screams it out. There was an odd cover by the Flying Lizards in 1979 and there are many other versions.