If get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.
So, in a sort of chronological order, my twenty seventh legends are: The Four Tops
Motown has been a big influence on my musical choices over the years. I remember their early songs being aged about 10 years old. Each Thursday I would be off with my mates down the youth club and Motown was always being played. Happy days indeed. Yes, the youth club did have table tennis and disco, hence I have never felt the need to go around stabbing people.
Tunes like these are about memories, I just hope they bring back good ones for you.
When I start my next series it will be about the different genres of music, I am bigly looking forward to the Motown ones.
The Four Tops are an American vocal quartet from Detroit who helped to define the city’s Motown sound of the 1960s. The group’s repertoire has included soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, doo-wop, jazz, and show tunes.
Founded as the Four Aims, lead singer Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades, performing from 1953 until 1997 without a change in personnel. The Four Tops were among a number of groups, including the Miracles, the Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, the Temptations, and the Supremes, who established the Motown Sound heard around the world during the 1960s. They were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer, whereas most other male and mixed vocal groups of the time were fronted by tenors.
The group was the main male vocal group for the highly successful song-writing and production team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, who crafted a stream of hit singles for Motown. These included two Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits for the Tops: “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” in 1965 and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” in 1966. The group continued to have chart singles into the 1970s, including the million-seller “Ain’t No Woman” (1973).
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them #79 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
The Four Tops continue to perform with Fakir as the last surviving original member.
- Abdul “Duke” Fakir(1953-present)
- Ronnie McNeir(1999-present)
- Lawrence Payton Jr. (2005-present)
- Alexander Morris (2019-present)
- Levi Stubbs(1953-2000, 2004) (d. 2008)
- Renaldo “Obie” Benson(1953-2005) (d. 2005)
- Lawrence Payton(1953-1997) (d. 1997)
- Theo Peoples(1998-2010)
- Harold Bonhart (2010-2018)
A full discography is here: – The Four Tops
Some of these were never released in the UK so you may not be familiar with them, but they are all unmistakably Four Tops. Many of these, if you play them you will know the tune, but not from the title, and only realise now it is the Four Tops!
Baby I Need Your Loving – TV show from 1966. Their first big hit.
Supremes & Four Tops “Without The One You Love (Life is Not worthwhile)” Not released in the UK, but great tune with the unmistakeable Supremes as well.
It’s The Same Old Song – This will be about 1965, or about 55 years ago and still sounds as good as ever. 55 years old this tune and I still sing all the words.
Just ask the lonely – Live TV performance from about 1967 – Levi on lead vocals, lovely.
Loving you is sweeter than ever – live 1965
Reach Out I’ll Be There Live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966. Classic tune.
Standing In The Shadows Of Love – Live in Paris 1967. Brilliant
Bernadette Live TV show in 1967
If I Were A Carpenter (1968) – Could not find a live version. Quite a few others have covered this song as well.
Do What You Gotta Do – Could not find a live version, but lovely song this.
It’s All In The Game – Live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1970, many a tear has to fall…….
The Supremes and The Four Tops – You Gotta Have A Little Love In Your Heart (Rehearsal Video from ToTP in 1971)
A Simple Game (Motown 1972)
When She Was My Girl US TV show in 1981
Indestructible – very 1980’s
Loco In Acapulco (Top of the Pops, 22nd December 1988)
One of my long time favourites is:
Don’t Walk Away Renée– Did you also sing “you won’t see me on the loo back home”? It’s “Follow you back home”
Singalong, enjoy and be happy!
Links to previous Legend articles:
© Phil the ex test manager 2022