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Encyclopedia > Four Tops

The Four Tops are an American musical group, who helped define the Motown sound of the 1960's. Their sound was unique for having a deep-voiced lead singer, Levi Stubbs -- most groups of the time were fronted by a tenor. Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir met Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton in 1953 and began calling themselves The Four Aims. Payton had a cousin named Roquel Davis, a songwriter and occasional singer, who helped the group sign to Chess Records in 1956. They changed their names to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with The Ames Brothers. After brief, unsuccessful periods with Chess, Red Top, Riverside Records and Columbia Records, the Four Tops signed with Motown.


In 1964, The Four Tops released their first hit, "Baby I Need Your Loving," a top ten record. Later that year their follow-up record, "Without The One You Love," barely made the charts. This was followed by a series of massively successful songs, including the number 1 hit "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honeybunch)", "Something About You", "Standing In The Shadows of Love", "Bernadette", and "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever". Perhaps their most well-remembered song is 1966's "Reach Out, I'll Be There". The hits continued througout the 1960s and early 1970s, including 1973's "Ain't No Woman Like The One I've Got", but had essentially ended with "Catfish" (1976). Unusually, the Four Tops enjoyed a renaissance in 1981, with "When She Was My Girl". In 1988, "Indestructible" became their last charting single. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.


External link

  • Vocal Group Hall of Fame page on The Four Tops (http://www.vghf.com/Inductees/four_tops.htm)

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Four Tops - Biography - AOL Music (1042 words)
The Four Tops' story is one of longevity and togetherness: these Motown legends teamed up in high school and spent over four decades without a single personnel change.
The Four Tops' lone Chess single, "Kiss Me Baby," was an unequivocal flop, and the group moved on to similarly brief stints at Red Top and Riverside.
The Four Tops next caught on with Arista, where in 1988 they scored their last Top 40 pop hit, the aptly titled "Indestructible." The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and continued to tour the oldies circuit.
The Four Tops Biography (649 words)
When Motown relocated to Los Angeles in the early 70s, the Four Tops were the first of the label's major acts to defect, moving over to ABC/Dunhill’s fl music division and teaming with young writer/producers Lambert and Potter.
The Tops returned to Motown in the mid-80s for two unsuccessful albums before signing with Arista in 1989 and releasing Indestructible, their final hit album, which included the song "Loco In Acapulco" from the soundtrack of Phil Collins' movie Buster.
In the end, the story of the Four Tops is one of group harmony, on and off the stage.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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