The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Community

February 14, 2013

Fakir is Four Tops’ 'Keeper of the Castle'

ANDERSON, Ind. — Listen  to the pitter-patter start of the Four Tops’ “Reach Out I’ll be There.”

It rises in intensity until singer Levi Stubbs starts his plea, “Now if you feel that you can’t go on because all your hope is gone ...”

Or there’s the build-up of instruments that starts “I Can’t help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).” And there’s Stubbs all but dropping to his knees in “Shake Me, Wake Me.”

There was a sense of urgency in the sound of The Four Tops, the Detroit-based hit machine that had more than 20 records chart in the top 40 during the 1960s and ‘70s.

The style came from different sources.

“First of all, it comes from Levi. Levi’s voice had the passion,” said Abdul “Duke” Fakir, 77, the surviving member of the Tops.

But by serving as back-up vocalists, the Tops learned studio techniques, he said.

“That helped us learn mic control and how to put feeling into it without going off-key. We learned how to record doing background work before we had out hits and that really helped us learn to really almost cry on records with Levi singing, especially for him. Being Jackie Wilson’s cousin, he learned a lot from him.”

Fakir will be with The Four Tops when they perform two concerts Saturday, 7:30 and 10 p.m., at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Tickets are still available.

Fakir and high school chum Levi Stubbs formed the group in 1954 after meeting Lawrence Payton and Renaldo “Obie” Benson at a birthday party. Next year will be the quartet’s 60th anniversary.

“We are going to bash it in 2014,” said Fakir, talking with The Herald Bulletin from his Detroit home. He has hopes for a tour, album and the release of his autobiography.

“When we started out, after about two or three months we realized we wanted to make a lifetime career out of this ... which we thought would be maybe 20 years.”

The foursome was fortunate to work Las Vegas and back-up vocals before landing at Motown in Detroit.

In 1965, the group was looking for a follow-up to their first No. 1 song, “I Can’t Help Myself.” But after a two-week recording sessions, they didn’t feel another No. 1 was in the mix. They had even experimented on one song, “Reach Out,” trying to find the sound by mixing singing and spoken vocals.

About to give up, the group was called into Motown mogul Berry Gordy’s office. He told them he had their next worldwide hit. He played their just-recorded version of “Reach Out.” The Tops told him it would sink like an anchor, Fakir recalled.

Two weeks later, Fakir heard the song on the radio.

“It just jumped off the radio. I was so excited, I turned my car back toward the studio and ran upstairs to Berry’s office.

“I opened the door and shouted, ‘Don’t ever ask our opinion. Just do what you do.”

1
Text Only
Community
  • Jim Bailey: Gospel singer’s long road to recovery has begun Eighteen months ago, gospel singer and The Perrys manager Tracy Stuffle found himself wrecked by the side of the road, where he struggled to summon help on his cell phone. He had suffered a severe stroke while driving.

    July 30, 2014

  • Community Briefs: July 31 A compilation of community news items as published in the Thursday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 30, 2014

  • FEA HB0730 Gordon Brooks Berky strives to unite community through the arts His theater was originally going to be a place where he could perform when he’s not on tour, but then actor and mask maker Doug Berky had a bigger idea: Unite the community through entertainment.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Community Briefs: July 30 A compilation of community news as published in the Wednesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 29, 2014

  • FEA - HB0729 - Senior Falls Aging safely in the comfort of her home Marilyn Moneyhun said being totally reliant on others is difficult. "Losing your independence is a shock to your system," Moneyhun, 84, said. "You are not in control anymore."

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Community Briefs: July 29 A compilation of community news items as published in the Tuesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 29, 2014

  • FEA - HB0728 - Fresh Orientation - SH Elwood freshmen learn the ways of high school through mentoring program About half the 112 incoming freshmen at Elwood Jr./Sr. High School got a jump on their friends recently by attending a freshman orientation session. Joan Mercer, an English teacher who helped organize the the orientation, said the mentor program, which has been in place for several years, has been effective in new students make the high school transition.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA-HB0727-MCWinery-JC6.JPG Having a wine time

    Cathy Hensley’s never been much of a drinker. It wasn’t something that interested her very much, so it seemed unfathomable that she would ever run a winery. But after her son Eric offered her and her husband, Duke, some wine he made, it changed things.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lanane among LifeStream honorees Dr. Jon Hendrix and Katie Lucas, both of Muncie; Janet Privett, Montezuma, Ohio, and Sen. Tim Lanane (D), Anderson, will be honored during a reception Aug. 7 in Muncie for their work in making a difference in the lives of aging adults and people with disabilities.

    July 26, 2014

  • Community Briefs: July 27 A compilation of community news items as published in the Sunday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 26, 2014

Reader Pet Photos


We're looking for your best pet photos! Share your photos of your favorite non-human companions in our new photo gallery. Click here to upload your photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin