118. The Four Tops

The Four Tops are a vocal quartet from Detroit, Michigan. The four men met at a house party in 1954, and stayed together for over forty years.

artists_fourtops_large_1

The Four Tops Biography on Wikipedia
The Four Tops Page on soulwalking.co.uk

Levi Stubbs (1936-2008), lead vocalist (baritone)
Renaldo “Obie” Benson (1936-2005), vocalist (bass)
Lawrence Payton (1938-1997), vocalist (tenor)
Abdul “Duke” Fakir (b. 1935), vocalist (tenor)

Note: Renaldo Benson is the co-writer (with Al Cleveland) of the pop standard “What’s Going On”, best known as performed by Marvin Gaye.

The Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting and production team:

Brian Holland (b. 1941), songwriter, producer
Lamont Dozier (b. 1941), songwriter, producer
Eddie Holland (b. 1939), songwriter, producer

A Classy Courtship

The Four Tops are as American as apple pie, one of Motown Records’ most popular and enduring groups. When I was a kid, their music was a consistent presence on AM pop radio. There’s a consistency to several of their biggest hits from the sixties, a style that features the great Motown bassist James Jamerson, who shines on songs such as “Bernadette” and “Standing In The Shadows Of Love”. My favorite Four Tops song is their first hit, “Baby I Need Your Loving”. I find the presentation of their music, with the four handsome, neatly dressed men singing and performing loosely choreographed dance steps, classy and attractive.

When I was about thirty years old, I had a crush on a girl who worked nearby. Peppy had been a lieutenant in the Air Force before entering the civilian work world. After I got to know her, I found out her favorite band was the Four Tops. I discuss my one date with Peppy, taking her to see the Four Tops at the county fair, in the Louis Prima profile. It was under the impression we came pretty close to a serious relationship, and I never even kissed her. She admired Louis Prima’s wife and musical partner Keely Smith, and kind of looked like her, too. The fact that Louis Prima, the Four Tops and Nat “King” Cole became integral parts of the collection is partially attributable to our friendship. Still think about you every now and then, kid; I’ll always be three months older than you.

Four Tops Songs:

Baby I Need Your Loving, The Four Tops ★★★★

Reach Out (I’ll Be There), The Four Tops ★★★
Bernadette, The Four Tops ★★★

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), The Four Tops ★★
It’s The Same Old Song, The Four Tops ★★
Standing In The Shadows Of Love, The Four Tops ★★
Ask The Lonely, The Four Tops ★★
Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got), The Four Tops ★★
If I Were A Carpenter, The Four Tops ★★

Something About You (Mono), The Four Tops
Are You Man Enough?, The Four Tops
Still Water (Love), The Four Tops
When She Was My Girl, The Four Tops
On The Street Where You Live, The Four Tops
It’s The Same Old Song (Live), The Four Tops

Monaural versions of “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “Standing In The Shadows Of Love” included in the collection.

Related Songs:

On The Street Where You Live, Mel Tormé with Marty Paich Orchestra ★★

If I Were A Carpenter, Tim Hardin ★★★
If I Were A Carpenter (Live), Tim Hardin
If I Were A Carpenter, Bobby Darin ★★★

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