November 7, 2019
The Four Tops, Levi Stubbs, Duke Fakir, Renaldo Benson, and Lawrence Payton, were a rare group that performed together 1953-1997 without anyone leaving or joining. Only Payton’s death during 1997 ended their 44 years together. Time passes and as of this writing, 83 year old Duke Faker is the only surfing member and still leads the group.
The Four Tops were part of the Motown machine and were a hit making machine during the second half of the 1960’s.
“Reach Out, I’ll Be There” was their second number one hit. October 15, 1966 was the magic day it hit number one, and there it remained for two weeks.
February 18, 2016
Levi Stubbs, Abdul Duke Fakir, Renaldo Benson, and Lawrence Peyton began singing together in 1953 and remained together until Peyton’s death in 1997. The Four Tops were a rare group where the original members stayed together for over 40 years.
The Four Tops were an important part of the classic Motown sound of the 1960’s. “Baby I Need Your Lovin'” was their first hit but it was “I Can’t Help Myself” that made them stars.
“I Can’t Help Myself” is 2 minutes and 43 seconds of musical nirvana and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks beginning June 19, 1965.
April 26, 2012
Levi Stubbs, Renaldo Benson, Lawrence Payton, and Abdul “Duke: Fakir performed and recorded together as the Four Tops with any changes in personnel for close to 50 years.
The Motown label liked to control the material their artists released and had a formula they used many times in the srudio. “Reach Out I’ll Be There” was one of the few songs that managed to escape that formula.
The legendary songwriting team of Holland-Donzier-Holland enlisted the Four Tops to record one of their best creations. The song just assaults the senses and uses a counter-melody to push the song along and the rhythm section sounds like a symphony. Through it all Levi Stubbs lead vocal floats above the harmonies.
Released during the summer of 1966, it spend two weeks as the number one song on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
It remains one of the best single releases in American music history.
December 22, 2010
The Four Tops formed in 1953 as The Four Aims. They were comprised of Levi Stubbs, Renaldo Benson, Lawrence Payton, and Duke Fakir. In 1963 they had changed their name and signed with the Motown Label. They would place 45 songs on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop charts and be inducted into THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME in 1990.
The original group had an amazing run as the four members remained together until Payton died during 1997.
“Walk Away Renee” was released during early February of 1968. It was a rare Motown issue not written in-house. Nevertheless, The Four Tops took the classic Left Banke song and moved it over into a soul style. It remains representative of their style which is very good indeed.