Artist Countdown: Four Tops Top 45 Hits 6pm ET @radiomax @thefourtops

topsFour Tops are an American vocal quartet, whose repertoire has included doo-wop, jazz, soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, and showtunes. Founded in Detroit, Michigan as The Four Aims, lead singer Levi Stubbs (born Levi Stubbles, a cousin of Jackie Wilson and brother of The Falcons’ Joe Stubbs), and groupmates Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades, having gone from 1953 until 1997 without a single change in personnel.

Among a number of groups who helped define the Motown Sound of the 1960s, including The Miracles, The Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Temptations, and The Supremes, the Four Tops were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer; most groups of the time were fronted by a tenor. The group was the main male vocal group for the songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who crafted a stream of hit singles, including two Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits: “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There”. After Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1967, the Four Tops were assigned to a number of producers, primarily Frank Wilson. When Motown left Detroit in 1972 to move to Los Angeles, California, the Tops stayed in Detroit and moved over to ABC Records’ Dunhill imprint, where they continued to have charting singles into the late-1970s. Since the 1980s, the Four Tops have recorded for, at various times, Motown, Casablanca Records and Arista Records. Today, save for Indestructible (owned by Sony Music Entertainment), Universal Music Group controls the rights to their entire post-1963 catalog (through various mergers and acquisitions), as well as their 1956 single, “Could It Be You”.

A change of line-up was finally forced upon the group when Lawrence Payton died on June 20, 1997. The band initially continued as a three-piece under the name The Tops, before Theo Peoples (formerly of The Temptations) was recruited as the new fourth member. Peoples eventually took over the role of lead singer when Stubbs suffered a stroke in 2000 with his position assumed by Ronnie McNeir. On July 1, 2005, Benson died of lung cancer with Payton’s son Roquel Payton replacing him. Levi Stubbs died on October 17, 2008. Fakir, McNeir, Payton, and Harold “Spike” Bonhart, who replaced Peoples in 2011, are still performing together as the Four Tops. Fakir is now the only surviving founding member of the original group. (Source: Wikipedia)

1 Reach Out I’ll Be There
2 I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)
3 When She Was My Girl
4 Standing in the Shadows of Love
5 Bernadette
6 Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)
7 Still Water (Love)
8 Walk Away Renée
9 River Deep Mountain High (with The Supremes)
10 It’s All In The Game
11 Keeper of the Castle
12 Seven Rooms of Gloom
13 It’s the Same Old Song
14 If I Were a Carpenter
15 You Keep Running Away
16 Sweet Understanding Love
17 Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
18 Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)
19 I’m In a Different World
20 Yesterday’s Dreams
21 Indestructible
22 Are You Man Enough
23 You Gotta Have Love in Your Heart (with The Supremes)
24 Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over)
25 I Just Can’t Walk Away
26 A Simple Game
27 Something About You
28 Ask the Lonely
29 One Chain Don’t Make No Prison
30 If Ever a Love There Was (with Aretha Franklin)
31 Midnight Flower
32 (It’s the Way) Nature Planned It
33 MacArthur Park
34 What is a Man
35 Don’t Let Him Take Your Love From Me
36 Catfish
37 I Just Can’t Get You Out of My Mind
38 Seven Lonely Nights
39 In These Changing Times
40 Loco in Acapulco
41 Baby, I Need Your Loving
42 Do What You Gotta Do
43 We Gotta All Stick Together
44 Don’t Walk Away
45 Sexy Ways