Four Tops (Motown)

~ Group

Wikipedia

The Four Tops are a vocal quartet from Detroit, Michigan, USA, who helped to define the city's Motown sound of the 1960s. The group's repertoire has included soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, doo-wop, jazz, and show tunes.

Founded as the Four Aims, lead singer Levi Stubbs, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades, performing from 1953 until 1997 without a change in personnel.

The Four Tops were among a number of groups, including the Miracles, the Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, the Temptations, and the Supremes, who established the Motown Sound heard around the world during the 1960s. They were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer, whereas most male and mixed vocal groups of the time were fronted by a tenor.

The group was the main male vocal group for the highly successful songwriting and production team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, who crafted a stream of hit singles for Motown. These included two Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits for the Tops: "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" in 1965 and "Reach Out I'll Be There" in 1966. After Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1967, the Four Tops were assigned to a number of producers, primarily Frank Wilson, but generally with less success.

When Motown left Detroit in 1972 to move to Los Angeles, California, the Tops stayed in Detroit but signed a new recording deal with ABC Records' Dunhill imprint. Recording mainly in Los Angeles, they continued to have chart singles into the late 1970s, including the million-seller "Ain't No Woman", their second release on Dunhill, produced by Steve Barri and the composers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter.

In the 1980s, the Four Tops recorded for Casablanca Records, Arista Records and Motown, returning to that label on two occasions for brief stays. Apart from their album Indestructible (owned by Sony Music Entertainment), Universal Music Group controls the rights to their entire post-1963 catalog (through various mergers and acquisitions) and also their 1956 single, "Could It Be You".

A change of lineup was forced on the group when Lawrence Payton died on June 20, 1997. The group initially continued as a three-piece under the name the Tops, before Theo Peoples (formerly of the Temptations) was recruited as the new fourth member. Peoples eventually took over the role of lead singer when Stubbs suffered a stroke in 2000, with Ronnie McNeir then joining the group. On July 1, 2005, Benson died of lung cancer. Payton's son Roquel Payton replaced him. Levi Stubbs died on October 17, 2008.

Fakir, McNeir, Roquel Payton, and Harold "Spike" Bonhart, who replaced Peoples in 2011, are still performing together as the Four Tops. Fakir is the only surviving founding member of the group.

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Discography

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2016 Grand 12‐Inches 14 Ben Liebrand 1
2016 Move On Up, Volume Two: The Very Best of Northern Soul Various Artists 1
2016 Twelve Inch Eighties: Let’s Groove Various Artists 1
2016 Anthems: Soul Classics Various Artists 2
2016 Top of the Pops: 1964–1969 Various Artists 1
2016 Top of the Pops: 1970–1974 Various Artists 1
2016 Top of the Pops: 1980–1984 Various Artists 1
2016 Twelve Inch Eighties: Can You Feel It Various Artists 1
2016 Eighties Blockbusters Various Artists 2
2017 Jon Savage's 1967: The Year Pop Divided Various Artists 1
2017 La Soul C'était Mieux Avant Various Artists 1
2017 Fetenhits: The Real Summer Classics - Best of Various Artists 1
2017 The 80s U.S. Playlist Various Artists 1
2017 100 Hits: The Best Eighties Album Various Artists 1
2017 Dreamboats & Petticoats: The Diamond Edition Various Artists 1
2017 Now That's What I Call 80s Party Various Artists 1
2018 60s Jukebox: The Ultimate Collection Various Artists 1
'60s Dance Party Various Artists 1
’60s Music Revolution Various Artists 1
20 Greatest Songs in Motown History Various Artists 1
30 Hits of the Sixties, Volume 5 Various Artists 1
50 Hits of the Sixties, Volume 1 Various Artists 1
60s Mix Mania Various Artists 1
101 Number One Hit Records Various Artists 1
1960's R&B Classics Various Artists 1
1962-1965 Various Artists 1
A Christmas Present From Motown Various Artists 1
Art Laboe's Dedicated to You, Volume 6 Various Artists 1
Best of Summer Hits Various Artists 1
Billboard Top R&B Hits: 1965 Various Artists 1
Billboard Top R&B Hits: 1973 Various Artists 1
Billboard's #1 Soul Hits Various Artists 1
Budweiser USA Music Tour Various Artists 1
Classic 60s Mid 60s Various Artists 1
Classic Cuts Presents: The Soul Box Various Artists 1
Classic R&B Oldies from the 70's Volume 2 Various Artists 1
Classic Songs of the Motown Era, Volume 1 Various Artists 1
Classic Songs of the Motown Era, Volume 2 Various Artists 1
Classic Soul Various Artists 1
Classic Soul 2 Various Artists 1
Coca-Cola Weihnachts-Songs Various Artists 1
Dancing in the Streets: The Christmas Album Various Artists 1
De Zomer Top 100 Various Artists 1
DJ Tools 15 Various Artists 1
Du Rythm'N'Blues à la Soul (100 titres qui ont marqué l'histoire) Various Artists 1
Endless Lovesongs Various Artists 1
Enjoy the 60's Various Artists 1
Enjoy the 70's Various Artists 1
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1965 Various Artists 1
Experience the Eighties, Volume 2 Various Artists 1
From Motown With Love Various Artists 1
Greatest Hits of the Oldies, Volume 5 Various Artists 1
Haruki Murakami Soundtracks II Various Artists 1
Hits of the 60's, Vol. 3 Various Artists 1
Hot Rod Cruisin' Classics Various Artists 1
I Love 80's Collection Various Artists 1
Jerry Blavat presents: 50 Years of Musical Memories Various Artists 1
Jerry Blavat presents: For Dancers Only Various Artists 1
Jerry Blavat presents: For Dancers Only Vol. 4 Various Artists 1
Jerry Blavat presents: For Dancers Only Vol. 5 Various Artists 1
Jerry Blavat presents: The Untouchables Various Artists 1
Just the Hits: Motown Party Various Artists 1
Last Christmas Various Artists 1
Legends of Decades Various Artists 1
Lindy Essentials, Volume 29 Various Artists 1
Lindy Essentials, Volume 30 Various Artists 1
Love On The Dance Floor #4 Various Artists 1
Love Songs Various Artists 1
Love Songs, Volume Two Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 15: Early Soul Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 21: Pop Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 43: Early Soul Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 61: Early Soul Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 77: Early Soul Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 78: Party Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 84: Early Soul Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 94: Early Soul Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts 98: Early Soul Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts: The Sixties Box Various Artists 1
Mastermix Classic Cuts: The Sixties Box 2 Various Artists 1
Mastermix Jock in a Box, Volume 2 Various Artists 1
Mastermix Professional Engineered for DJs 17: 60s Various Artists 1
Mastermix Professional Engineered for DJs 18: Soul & Motown Various Artists 1
Mastermix Professional Engineered for DJs I: 60s 70s 80s 90s Various Artists 1
Motown 30th Anniversary Collection Various Artists 1
Motown Dance Party 2 Various Artists 1
Motown Gold Various Artists 1
Motown Great Americian Grooves Various Artists 1
Motown Is Hot Various Artists 1
Motown Legends Duets Various Artists 1
Motown Legends, Volume 4 Various Artists 1
Motown Love Various Artists 1
Motown Love Songs Various Artists 1
Motown Salutes Bacharach Various Artists 1
Motown Treasures Various Artists 1
Motown Year by Year: The Sound of Young America, 1968 Various Artists 1
Motown’s Biggest Pop Hits - All #1 on Billboard’s Charts Various Artists 1
New York Collection, 1968 Various Artists 1
No. 1 Movies Album, Volume 2 Various Artists 1
Ocean Drive, Volume 1 Various Artists 1

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