Tiger In a Cage

Barrett Strong recorded ‘I’m Gonna Cry (If You Quit Me)’ in 1960 on Tamla Records as the B side to the single ‘Whirlwind’.  Berry Gordy wrote this song with Smokey Robinson.  Barrett Strong was the first artist to record a hit for Motown, although he is best known for his work as a songwriter, particularly in association with producer Norman Whitfield.  Among his most famous work at Motown, Strong wrote the lyrics for many of the songs recorded by the Temptations.  Strong was among the first artists signed to Berry Gordy’s fledging label, Tamla Records, and in April 1959, he recorded Tamla’s third-ever single, the little-distributed and thus highly collectable ‘Let’s Rock’.  His second 45, and Motown’s seventh, followed in August and this put Tamla on the national map, being the company’s first hit.  ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ reached #2 US R&B and went as high as #23 pop in 1960.  ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ was written by Gordy with his receptionist Janie Bradford.  Strong was still a student at Central High School in Detroit when it was recorded.

Women are more likely to cry after a breakup and the guy in this song is a really tough guy, but he knows that sadness will overcome him if his girl leaves.  Guys are built different than girls and they try to put on a front to make them feel better about themselves, but guys are human, so they can experience loneliness along with separation anxiety, as they are longing for their girlfriend or partner to return.  Love isn’t always enough to make a relationship last and you have to know when it is time to let go, but this guy clearly isn’t ready for that step yet.  We don’t know what went wrong for this girl to want to leave him, but maybe this guy was too macho to tell his girl that he loves her.

Well, all my life, I’ve been real strong
I ain’t ever been hurt when things go wrong
I’m hard as a rock, and just as tough
I don’t play and I don’t bluff

[Chorus]
But I’m gonna cry, I’m gonna cry
I’m gonna cry if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Yeah, baby, if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Whoa, baby, if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry)

[Verse 2]
Yeah, I’ve conceded in all I tried
When trouble comes, I never hide
I kept running through the jungle
Kill a lion with a switch
Everybody knows I’m bad as I can be

[Chorus]
But I’m gonna cry, baby, I’m gonna cry
I’m gonna cry if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Oh baby, if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Whoa, baby, if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Yeah…

[Verse 3]
Well, I’ll fight a bear in the forest or a shark in the sea
A tiger in a cage and an ape in a tree
And in the rain, cold, hot or sunny, I won’t run
I used to beat the cops just for fun

[Chorus]
But I’m gonna cry, baby; I’m gonna cry, baby
I’m gonna cry if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Oh baby, if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Whoa, honey, so don’t you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Ah, baby, I may be rough
(I’m gonna cry) And I may, I may be tough
(I’m gonna cry) But I’m gonna cry
(I’m gonna cry) If you quit me
(I’m gonna cry) Yeah, if you quit me
(I’m gonna cry)

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme is Lion, Tiger, Bear, Eagle, Shark suggested by Paula of Light Motifs II.

22 thoughts on “Tiger In a Cage

  1. I have never heard of Strong before but this is a catchy song, especially the chorus. My friend just broke up with her boyfriend today. I should send this song to comfort her?

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