Monday, October 08, 2007
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Four Tops
Artist:The Four Tops
Song:Reach Out (I'll Be There)
Album:The Ultimate Collection
One of the things that separates The Four Tops from most groups is they never had any personnel changes or ego problems. Levi Stubbs, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson & Lawrence Payton met at a friend's birthday party in 1953 and have been together ever since. Reach Out (I'll Be There) may be their greatest song. They started out as The Four Aims. They signed with Chess in 1956 and the group name was changed to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers. They flopped and flopped at three other labels until Berry Gordy signed them to Motown in 1963. Columbia had attempted to sell them as a jazz-like vocal group. Gordy was going to continue that but changed his mind and made them more R & B. He assigned the songwriting producing team of Holland/Dozier/Holland to The Four Tops and they had a string of top hits in the 60s. The 1966 smash Reach Out (I'll Be There) features a fabulous lead vocal by Levi Stubbs. Here's a guy with a wonderful church trained voice good enough for him to be a solo star. But he never left The Four Tops. That's loyalty. This comp The Ultimate Collection has all their hits. The Four Tops remained together until Lawrence Payton's death in 1997. They replaced him with Theo Peoples but that has been the only change. They're still touring and doing great. Here's The Four Tops performing Reach Out (I'll Be There) on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1966.