The Four Tops

1956-
Levi Stubbs
Abdul "Duke" Fakir
Lawrence Payton
Renaldo "Obie" Benson
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • These guys stuck together and went 41 years without any member changes: 1956-1997. Berry Gordy of Motown Records called them, "The epitome of loyalty, integrity, class."
  • Stubbs was their lead vocalist. He was a baritone, which was rare, as the lead was usually a tenor.
  • They were signed to Motown Records and started out as a backing group for The Supremes.
  • Their original name was The Four Aims. They changed to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with popular vocal group The Ames Brothers.
  • They had 16 US Top 40 hits from 1964-1970, making them one of the most successful American acts during the British Invasion.
  • Stubbs was the voice of the man-eating plant Audrey II in the movie Little Shop of Horrors.
  • They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
  • Payton and Benson both died of cancer, Payton in 1997 at age 59 and Benson in 2005 at 68. On October 17, 2008, Stubbs died in his sleep at age 72.
  • In 1986 Billy Bragg released a song called "Levi Stubbs' Tears," which hit #29 in the UK. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for all above
  • Out of necessity, they were very efficient in the studio. Motown kept them busy with constant touring and promotional appearances, so when they did return to Hitsville to record, it was often a hit-and-run. Stubbs would often nail his vocal in one take.
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