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The Four Tops

The Four Tops

Fact Sheet

Musical genre:Soul  
Country  USA
The Four Tops are an American musical group, who helped define the Motown sound of the 1960's. Their sound was unique for having a deep-voiced lead singer, Levi Stubbs -- most groups of the time were fronted by a tenor. Stubbs and Duke Fakir met Obie Benson and Lawrence Payton in 1953 and began calling themselves The Four Aims. Payton had a cousin named Roqel Davis, a songwriter and occasional singer, who helped the group sign to Chess Records in 1956. They changed their names to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with The Ames Brothers. After brief, unsuccessful periods with Chess, Red Top, Riverside Records and Columbia Records, the Four Tops signed with Motown.

In 1964, The Four Tops released their first hit, "Baby I Need Your Loving". This was followed by a series of massively successful songs, including "I Can't Help Myself (Sugarpie, Honeybunch)", Something About You" and "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever". Perhaps their most well-remembered song is 1966's "Reach Out, I'll Be There". The hits continued througout the 1960s and early 1970s, but had essentially ended with "Catfish" (1976). Unusually, the Four Tops enjoyed a renaissance in 1981, with "When She Was My Girl". In 1988, "Indestructible" became their last charting single. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.