The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Entertainment

February 9, 2013

Four things about the Tops ahead of their Hoosier Park shows

ANDERSON, Ind. — Here are four things to know about the Four Tops before heading to the group’s two shows at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

The Four Tops will perform at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. Tickets are still available through www.hoosierpark.com.

  • 1. The founding members of the Four Tops – Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton – performed together for more than four decades. Fakir is best known as a member of popular Motown act The Four Tops from 1954 to the present day. Fakir, who sings first tenor, is the only surviving original member of the group.
  • 2. Born in Detroit in 1936, Levi Stubbs (perhaps best known of The Four Tops) began his singing career with friends Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton, forming a singing group called The Four Aims in 1954 Two years later, after having signed with Chess Records, the group changed the name to the Four Tops to avoid confusion with the then-popular Ames Brothers. Although Stubbs was a natural baritone, most Four Tops’ hits were written in a tenor range to give the lead vocals a sense of urgency.
  • 3. The Four Tops first single was “Kiss Me Baby,” with Chess Records in 1956.Between 1958 and 1962, the group recorded songs for the Red Top, Columbia and Riverside labels. The star-making Motown label was just a heartbeat away. Barry Gordy’s Motown label signed the Four Tops in 1964 to its “Workshop” (jazz) division. Gordy put them together with the songwriting and production team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, which proved to be a chart-topping combination. Between 1964 and 1967, HDH and the Four Tops produced most of the group’s early hits: “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself,” “It’s the Same Old Song,” “Bernadette” and many others. The group remained with Motown until the label moved to Los Angeles in 1972.
  • 4. Author Dave Marsh chose “Reach Out I’ll Be There’ as the fourth greatest single of all time in his book “The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.” In part he described the song as: “The sheer size of its sound, its physical impact; the wild echo that makes the counter-melody carried by the flute exotic and eerie; equalization that polarizes voice and drums; the producers’ use of what must have been about half of the Detroit Symphony as an adjunct rhythm section; whatever the hell it is that establishes the clip-clop rhythm in the intro.”

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