Featured Artist – Four Tops

The Four Tops – Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson, and Lawrence Payton – signed onto the Motown record label in 1964 and would help bring the label international recognition. The group’s unique sound was in part due to the baritone lead, Stubbs, at a time when most mixed vocal groups had tenors as lead singers.

The quartet, originally called Four Aims, first performed together at a high school party in Detroit in 1954. They changed their name to Four Tops when they signed with Chess Records in 1956. The group of original members would go on to perform together for over 40 years. Sole surviving member, Fakir, continues to perform under the Four Tops name with new members.

After joining Motown Records, the group recorded jazz standards and sang backup on other groups’ singles. Their breakthrough song, “Baby I Need Your Loving,” came from Holland-Dozier-Holland, the Motown songwriting and production team. Released in 1964, the song would make it to Number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

The Four Tops’ had two songs reach Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 list, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” in 1965, and “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” in 1966. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

The Four Tops timeless hits are favorites of many of our listeners and are considered staples of the Life 103.1 music library.

(Wikipedia.com, MotownMuseum.org, Classic.Motown.com)

 

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