Four Tops

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About Four Tops

Few ’60s and ’70s soul vocal groups epitomize longevity like the Four Tops. Formed as a teenage quartet in Detroit in 1953, the Four Tops’ early stints singing jazz and pop standards led them to sign with Motown Records in 1963. Powered by lead singer Levi Stubbs’ gruff, gospel-hewn baritone over satin-smooth harmonies supplied by Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson, and Lawrence Payton, the Tops struck hitmaking gold when they teamed up with the songwriting-production team Holland-Dozier-Holland, who fashioned new musical terrain around the group’s dramatic voices. The group poured heartfelt, grown-up elegance into toe-tapping thumpers like “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” alongside driving soul symphonies like “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” and “Bernadette,” all while staying true to the youthful pop-soul of the Motown Sound. Even as styles changed, the Four Tops maintained their harmony gifts well into the ’70s and beyond with an R&B flair that has influenced modern Black groups from New Edition to Boyz II Men.

Detroit, MI, United States
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