These Motown legends teamed up in high school, spent over four decades together without a personnel change, and in between became a top-tier act on a label with no shortage of talent, ranking with the Temptations and the Supremes as its most consistent hitmakers.
Early years[ edit ] All four members of the group began their careers together while they were high-school students in Detroit. The quartet decided to remain together and named the group the Four Aims. Without any hit records to their name, they toured frequently, developing a polished stage presence and an experienced supper club act, as well as supporting Billy Eckstine.
InBerry Gordy, Jr. Joining Motown[ edit ] During their early Motown years, the Four Tops recorded jazz standards for the company's Workshop label. InMotown's main songwriting and production team, Holland—Dozier—Hollandcreated a complete instrumental track without any idea of what to do with it.
They decided to craft the song as a more mainstream pop song for the Four Tops and proceeded to create " Baby I Need Your Loving " from the instrumental track. However, the song proved to be much more popular on trend-setting radio stations in key U.
After the single's success, the Tops were pulled away from their jazz material and began recording more material in the vein of "Baby I Need Your Loving". From there, the group really began to make its mark. Four Tops records often represented the epitome of the Motown Sound: Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote most of Levi Stubbs's vocals in a tenor range, near the top of his range, in order to get a sense of strained urgency in his gospel preacher -inspired leads.
They also wrote additional background vocals for a female group, the Andanteson many of the songs, to add a high end to the low-voiced harmony of the Tops. August brought the release of the Four Tops' all-time biggest hit and one of the most popular Motown songs ever.
It was almost immediately followed by the similar-sounding " Standing in the Shadows of Love "; its depiction of heartbreak reflecting the opposite of the optimism in "Reach Out". It was another Top 10 hit for the Tops. By now, the Tops were the most successful male Motown act in the United Kingdom in the United States, they were second to the Temptationsand began experimenting with more mainstream pop hits.
These singles and the original "I'm in a Different World" were their last hits produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, who left Motown in after disputes with Berry Gordy over royalties and ownership of company shares.
Wilson and the Tops began working on a number of innovative tracks and albums together, echoing Whitfield's psychedelic soul work with The Temptations. Their album Still Waters Run Deep was a forerunner of the concept album. It also served as an inspiration for Marvin Gaye 's classic album What's Going Onthe title track of which was co-written by the Tops' Obie Benson.
In addition to their own albums, the Tops were paired with The Supremes, who had just replaced lead singer Diana Ross with Jean Terrellfor a series of albums billed under the joint title The Magnificent Seven: The song did not fare well on the U.
In addition, the company moved its operations from Detroit to Los Angeles, Californiawhere Berry Gordy planned to break into the motion picture and television industries. Init was announced that the entire company would move west and that all its artists had to move as well.
Many of the older Motown acts, already neglected by the label, opted to stay in Detroit, including The Funk Brothers studio backing band, Martha Reevesand the Four Tops. He also took over lead vocal duties on several tracks. The group's first release on the label, "Keeper of the Castle" was their first pop Top 10 hit since "Bernadette" in The group disappeared from the recording scene until the early s.
Produced by David Wolfert, it just missed the Billboard pop Top 10, peaking at The group also scored a UK Top 10 hit with the song and had another hit there with the follow-up, " Don't Walk Away ".
They were featured on the company's television special Motown Yesterday, Today, Forevertaking part in one of the highlights of the show - a battle-of-the-bands between The Tops and The Temptations, patterned after similar competitions Berry Gordy had staged during the s.
Only one more Tops album would be released by Motown, Magic in In July of that year, the group performed at the Live Aid concert, singing three of their hit songs. The album Hot Nights was completed inbut was then cancelled, as the group and the Motown label began to disagree over marketing and musical direction.
The following year, the Four Tops decided to leave for Arista Recordsbuying back several masters they had recorded for Hot Nights. It's not clear how many songs from Hot Nights were used on Indestructible, but the box set, Fourever includes the title track previously released as a singleRed Hot Love and The Four of Us previously released outside the U.
The title track of 's Indestructible was the group's final Top 40 hit, reaching No.The Four Tops' lone Chess single, "Kiss Me Baby," was an unequivocal flop, and the group moved on to similarly brief stints at Red Top and Riverside.
They signed with Columbia in and were steered in a more upscale supper-club direction, singing jazz and pop standards. 11 rows · The Four Tops are an American Motown musical quartet, whose repertoire has included .
This is a great debut album by The Four Tops, I first purchased this back in and it came in a collection of 2 classic albums on one cd. It included this album /5(6). The Four Tops were excellent.
Even though three of them are new members, one is a Son of an original member and one is a Brother, these new Tops along with the original "Duke" were amazing. 3 /5. Check out The Four Tops on Amazon Music. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on Amazon.
11 rows · The Four Tops are an American Motown musical quartet, whose repertoire has included doo-wop, jazz, soul music, RnB, disco, adult contemporary, showtunes, and even psychedelic rock.
Founded in Detroit, Michigan as The Four Aims, lead singer Levi Stubbs and group mates Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, and Lawrence Payton remained.