The Four Tops

Picture of The Four Tops

Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan, USACitizenship: United States


African-American "long-lived" vocal quartet, which is present in the repertoire of music style do OPs, jazz, soul, disco, rhythm and blues.

The band formed in Detroit, Michigan, first as "The Four Aims",with lead vocalist Levi Stubbs (cousin of Jackie Wilson and brother Joe Stubbs from the group "The Falcons"), Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton.

In this composition, the guys lost more than four decades, making changes to the group only because Payton `s death in 1997. So, the group was Theo Peeples;he later replaced Stubbs, who had a stroke. Then Ronnie MakNir took over Peeples.

In July 2005, Benson died of lung cancer; son Payton, Rockwell, replaced him.

Among the many groups who were recording company "Motown Records" in the 1960s, including "The Miracles", "The Marvelettes", "Martha and the Vandellas","The Temptations" and "The Supremes", group "The Four Tops" became famous because Stubbs, the leading vocalist, sang baritone, whereas most bands of the time exposed to the fore tenors.

"The Four Tops" became the male group, which began work team hit makers ,

trio Holland - Dozier - Holland. They set the tone for the popular music of the 1960s and contrived to group a whole bunch of hit singles, including two songs that took the top of the "Hot 100 " chart Billboard - "I Can`t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) "and" Reach Out I `ll Be There". After the trio of writers left "Motown Records" label in 1967producers in "The Four Tops" was a lot but, above all, it should be noted Frank Wilson.

When "Motown Records" in 1972 moved from Detroit to Los Angeles, California, the band decided not to leave Detroit and began to cooperate with the "ABC Records", where children continued to create singles invariably painted in the charts by the end of 1970. Beginning in the 1980s, "The Four Tops" worked with "Motown Records", "Casablanca Records" and "Arista Records". Today the company "Universal Music" owns the rights to all products of 1963


All four members of the group started their careers together, while attending high school in Detroit. At the urging of his friends,Students Levi Stubbs and Abdul Fakir with Renaldo Benson and Lawrence Payton played on the local party `s birthday. The quartet decided to stay together, dubbed themselves "The Four Aims". With Rockwell Davis team has signed a contract with "Chess Records" label in 1956, changing his name to "The Four Tops",to avoid confusion with the quartet "The Ames Brothers"

Over the next seven years with the group results are not comforting tried many record companies, including "Red Top", "Riverside Records" and "Columbia Records". Without a hit in the pocket "The Four Tops" toured polishing stage with their performances and appearing in clubs.In 1963Berry Gordy Jr., Working with Rockwell Davis as a composer in the late 1950s, was able to convince the group to join the growing "Motown Records" record company.


In the first years of work with the company "The Four Tops" recording standard jazz compositions for the "Workshop" label. Moreover,they participate in the back-vocals female singles group "The Supremes", such as "Run, Run, Run" and "When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes".

In 1964, the team hit makers "Motown" Holland - Dozier - Holland (producer and composer) created the instrumental track, just like that, without any idea of ?? how to use it.They decided to treat the song, do more "pop" version of "The Four Tops", and the instrumental track without lyric turn in "Baby I Need Your Loving". The release of the single was held in mid- 1964, the song "Baby I Need Your Loving" hit the US Billboard pop chart, taking the 11 line.

However,the song has gained even more popularity on the radio. "Baby I Need Your Loving" hit the Top 10 hits WMCA radio stations in New York and in Detroit WKNR. For these stations while traces of many listeners, because they have discovered a lot of new artists and songs.After the success of the single group has been working with jazz material and began making records in the spirit of "Baby I Need Your Loving". The song "Ask the Lonely", published in 1965, hit the "Best pop -30" and "Top 10 R & B hits." Since then, the case "The Four Tops" crawled up the hill.

SUCCESSAfter the song "I Can`t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" became a number one hit in April 1965, the band released a series of successful singles. In the first wave hits were songs that fall in the "Hot 10 ": "It`s the Same Old Song", "Something About You", "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It`s Over)", "Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever "."The Four Tops" Group has become the embodiment of the label "Motown": simple, different from the other, melody and rhyme, the lyrics "question - answer" and a musical collaboration with "The Funk Brothers" group. The trio Holland - Dozier - Holland writing songs specifically for the tenor range Levi Stubbs,at the very limit of his to create a sense of tension, which usually exist flushed preachers of the gospel. Moreover, hit-makers are not neglected and female backing vocal group "Andantes" in many of these songs, adding the high notes in the male vocals and creating extraordinary harmony of sound.

In August 1966 ,the release of the greatest hits the group and one of the most popular songs "Motown" label in the history of its existence: "Reach Out I`ll Be There". The song topped the US pop chart, and soon became the main song "The Four Tops". ASAP was launched additional musical probe, the song "Standing in the Shadows of Love",which proskvozilo listeners wounding his heart text, and became a kind of the opposite of the optimistic "Reach Out I`ll Be There".

The song "Bernadette", The basis of which his obsession with the men taken lover, continued to collect the fruits of the success of "The Four Tops" in January 1967 After it was followed by " 7 -Rooms of Gloom "and" You Keep Running Away ".By the time the band became the most successful offspring" Motown "UK (second in the United States after" The Temptations ") and launched into musical experimentation.They made hit songs by Tim Hardin`s version of "If I Were A Carpenter" at the end of 1967 and the song "Walk Away Renee" pop group "The Left Banke" in the beginning of 1968These singles and the original version of the song "I`m in a Different World" were the latest hits, which is engaged in hit -maker trio Holland - Dozier - Holland.Producer groups left to work with "Motown" in 1967 after a dispute with Berry Gordy about their fees and a share in the company.


Without a hit -makers group "The Four Tops" began to take positions, like all wards "Motown". Hits considerably diminished. In the late 1960s, the band worked with producers such as Ivy Hunter,Nicholas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, Norman Whitfield and Johnny Bristol, but the success of the former and "hang" on the charts was not there.

Breakthrough of the unenviable situation occurred in 1970x with the hit "It`s All in the Game" ("Top Ten R & B", "Best Pop 30 - ka") from the producer Frank Wilson`s hand.He and the band began to work in a series of innovative and collaborative albums tracks, repeating psychedelic soul Whitfield in the group "The Temptations". Album 1970, "Still Waters Run Deep", It became a kind of prototype of the concept album "The Temptations". Also recorded was a classic album "What`s Going On" in 1971the result of inspiration from the music of Marvin Gray; in the creation of the lyrics Obie Benson has used the main track of the album.

In addition to their own albums, "The Four Tops" worked with the group "The Supremes", which replaced the main vocalist Dayyanu Ross Jean Terrell,bringing to light a whole series of albums under the joint name of "The Magnificent Seven": "The Magnificent Seven" in 1970, "The Return of the Magnificent Seven" and "Dynamite! "In 1971 g.

In 1971 he released the single "A Simple Game". back- "The Moody Blues" vocalist members began in the song."A Simple Game" not gained much success with American audiences, but in the UK charts reached 3rd place.


Company "Motown" in the early 1970s, is slowly pushed toward the group "The Marvelettes" and "Martha and the Vandellas", focusing on promising newcomers,Michael Jackson and the quintet "The Jackson 5 " and a rock group "Rare Earth" Solo and Diana Ross. Moreover, the very beginning of the company moving from Detroit to Los Angeles, California, where Berry Gordy had planned to break into the world of cinema and television industry.

In 1972, it was announced,that the company is fully moved to Los Angeles, and it`s time to change artists and dislocation. Many wards "Motown", especially those who have long worked with label and felt like now neglected (including "The Funk Brothers" and "The Four Tops"), decided to stay in Detroit.

The group left the "Motown" and moved to "ABC-Dunhill",where as a music producer "The Four Tops" Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter was chosen, as well as member of the group, Lawrence Payton, who became more and arranger.

The song "Keeper of the Castle" became the first pop hit after "Bernadette" in 1967. ; it was followed by "Ain`t No Woman (Like the One I`ve Got)","Are You Man Enough" (track from the movie " Shaft in Africa "), "Sweet Understanding Love", "Midnight Flower", "One Chain Don`t Make No Prison". In 1976, with the release of the album "Catfish" hits disappeared. The group fell into the darkness at the end of 1970.

After winning the deal with "Casablanca Records" label in 1980 ,"The Four Tops" was able to go back to the ranks of the top teams in 1981, taking the top spot R & B charts with the song "When She Was My Girl", without getting into the top ten pop songs Billboard, ranking only 11th place.

The Naz "MOTOWN"

By 1983, "The Four Tops" back to "Motown" and fell into a special video recording company,"Motown 25 : Yesterday, Today, Forever". The video describes the confrontation music group "The Temptations" and "The Four Tops", which Berry Gordy had already arranged in the 1960s. After "fighting" groups have teamed up to tour together; According to 2007, the two teams still continue to play together.

First album,provided new contract with "Motown", was released under the name "Back Where I Belong". The entire disc is the result of production trio Holland - Dozier - Holland, which was included in the single "I Just Can`t Walk Away" ("Top 40 R & B singles") Later came two more albums for the label,. "Magic" in 1985 and "Hot Nights" in 1986and then group and "Motown" began to clash again on the basis of marketing cases and musical rule.

In 1987, "The Four Tops" decided to leave again "Motown" and go to "Arista Records". album "Indestructible" came out in 1988 on a new label.

Participants "The Four Tops" also appeared in film and television.The band performed the song in the movie "Grease 2 " in 1982, and Levi Stubbs pleased with my vocals in the musical film "Shop of Horror" in 1986 and became the voice of the character of the animated series "Captain N: The Game Master "on NBC.

Since the late 1980`s "The Four Tops" focused on touring and live performances, recording one album, "Christmas Here With You", Which was released in 1995 on the label "Motown".

20 June 1997 59 -year-old Lawrence Payton died of liver cancer, having been part of a group as many as 44 years. First, the band toured as a trio, renaming the group name in "The Tops", removing the "four". In 1998, the trio joined by Theo Peeples,a member of "The Temptation", returning position quartet group.

Stepping into the new century, Stubbs became ill with cancer; Ronnie MakNir replaced Lawrence Payton, and became a leading vocalist Peeples Stubbs instead.

The band appeared in a special video "Motown 45 ", as well as at the 50th annual concert dedicated to "The Four Tops".The concert was not easy, people saw Levi Stubbs in a wheelchair and a memorial Lawrence Payton opened Obi Benson. Himself Benson died on July 1, 2005 from lung cancer. Son of Lawrence Payton, Rokel (real name Lawrence Payton Jr.), Benton replaced in the group.

In October 2006, "The Four Tops" performed songs "Baby I Need Your Loving","When She Was My Girl", "Ask the Lonely", "Walk Away Renee", "Reach Out I`ll Be There", "Bernadette", "Standing in the Shadows of Love" and "I Can`t Help Myself " one of a series of concerts (" Eat to the Beat ") at Epcot in Florida.


10 years of obscurity, the band changed a great success on the label "Motown",and several hits "The Four Tops" claim to be "immortal."

The Group entered into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999

In 2004 the magazine "Rolling Stone" staged "The Four Tops" 79 honorable place plate " 100 greatest artists of all time."

Pictures of The Four Tops more

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