About Four Tops
The original members of Four Tops helped define the Motown sound during a deeply influential 44-year run that made them one of the most iconic vocal quartets of the 20th century.
• Four Tops came together at a birthday party when high school friends Levi Stubbs and Duke Fakir sang with Obie Benson and Lawrence Payton, who were classmates at a different school. They continued to perform together, initially dubbing themselves the Four Aims.
• The Detroit foursome built its chops with frequent tours during unsuccessful stints with record labels including Chess and Columbia. They released four singles in the late ’50s and early ’60s, though none of them charted.
• “Baby I Need Your Loving,” their first Motown single, reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964.
• Four Tops released dozens of singles and scored two No. 1 pop hits: “I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” in 1965 and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” in 1966. Motown’s powerhouse songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote them both.
• The 1967 single “Bernadette” was their last Top 10 hit for Motown. The group moved to ABC Records in the early ’70s and notched a Top 5 pop hit with “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I’ve Got.”
• Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. They received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
• Though a latter-day version of Four Tops has continued to tour, the original lineup ended its run when Payton died in 1997. Benson died in 2005, followed by Stubbs in 2008.