No other popular quartet stayed together with original personnel intact for as long as the legendary Four Tops. And no other group associated with the American 60s sound has succeeded in remaining as fresh, joyful, lively, and timely. The Four Tops created a special magic that continues to delight audiences of all ages and nationalities, and their reign as the Grand Gentleman of Rock and Roll is far from over!
The Four Tops’ list of top 10 hits, many of them gold records and No. 1 chart toppers, include “Baby, I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugarpie, Honeybunch),” “It’s the Same Old Song,” “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” “Bernadette,” “Walk Away, Rene,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “Shake Me, Wake Me”, just to name a few. They have recorded 35 albums during their illustrious career – 21 of them for Motown which reaffirms their power, punch, and enormous appeal.
Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson, and Lawrence Payton were teenage school friends in their native Detroit when they joined together in a singing group called the Aims in the mid 50s. Levi’s cousin, the great Jackie Wilson, was so impressed with the Aims’ mellow harmonies and smooth style, he invited them to perform with him on a regular basis. The Aims became “reincarnated” in 1956. It had been suggested that they might be confused with the then-popular Ames Brothers. Since they had chosen their name because they were “aiming for the top,” they became The Four Tops.
In 1963, The Four Tops were truly discovered when they were signed by Berry Gordy for Motown Records. Their first single was “Baby, I Need Your Loving,” and established the Tops as the Crowned Princes of Motown. As their career and the non-stop hits continued, The Four Tops appeared everywhere, from the star-studded shows at New York’s famous Apollo Theatre to Las Vegas’ most prestigious lounges. They shared the stage with other Motown legends and top stars from all genres and labels, including Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, The Four Seasons, and The Beach Boys, to name a few.
Watching an audience at a Four Tops concert today is an exciting reminder of the pleasure they have given their fans for years. The Four Tops continue to tour, delighting old and new fans alike. When fans reach out, the Four Tops are still there.
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