Monday 9pm: Black History Month Feature Band – The Four Tops

The Four Tops are a vocal quartet from Detroit, Michigan, USA, who helped to define the city’s Motown sound of the 1960s. The group’s repertoire has included soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, doo-wop, jazz, and show tunes.

Founded as the Four Aims, lead singer Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades, performing from 1953 until 1997 without a change in personnel.

The Four Tops were among a number of groups, including the Miracles, the Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, the Temptations, and the Supremes, who established the Motown Sound heard around the world during the 1960s. They were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer, whereas most male and mixed vocal groups of the time were fronted by a tenor.

The group was the main male vocal group for the highly successful songwriting and production team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, who crafted a stream of hit singles for Motown. These included two Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits for the Tops: “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” in 1965 and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” in 1966. After Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1967, the Four Tops were assigned to a number of producers, primarily Frank Wilson, but generally with less success.

When Motown left Detroit in 1972 to move to Los Angeles, California, the Tops stayed in Detroit but signed a new recording deal with ABC Records’ Dunhill imprint. Recording mainly in Los Angeles, they continued to have chart singles into the late 1970s, including the million-seller “Ain’t No Woman”, their second release on Dunhill, produced by Steve Barri and the composers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter.

In the 1980s, the Four Tops recorded for Casablanca Records, Arista Records and Motown, returning to that label on two occasions for brief stays. Apart from their album Indestructible (owned by Sony Music Entertainment), Universal Music Group controls the rights to their entire post-1963 catalog (through various mergers and acquisitions) and also their 1956 single, “Could It Be You”.

A change of lineup was forced on the group when Lawrence Payton died on June 20, 1997. The group 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 Ronnie McNeir then joining the group. On July 1, 2005, Benson died of lung cancer. Payton’s son Roquel Payton replaced him. Levi Stubbs died on October 17, 2008.

Fakir, McNeir, Roquel Payton, and Harold “Spike” Bonhart, who replaced Peoples in 2011, are still performing together as the Four Tops. Fakir is the only surviving founding member of the group. – Wikipedia

Saturday 7pm: Great Soul Performances with Bobby Jay

We’ve been having fabulous, unseasonably warm weather here on the east coast this week, so this evening on “Great Soul Performances,” I feel like dancing. Back to the Disco! We’ll be dancing to music from: Tavares, A Taste of Honey, Van McCoy, Vicki Sue Robinson, KC & the Sunshine Band, Thelma Houston, Frankie Smith, Diana Ross, Kool & the Gang and more. I want to see you in your best polyester and platform shoes at 7PM ET, 6PM CT, 5PM MT and 4PM PT. Then stick around because at 9PM ET, 8PM CT, 7PM MT & 6PM PT it’s “Great Soul Performances 2: The 80s” where we’ll boogie to songs from: Earth, Wind & Fire, Quincy Jones, the Jones Girls, Rick James & Teena Marie, Eddie Murphy, Chaka Khan, the O’Jays, Al B. Sure!, Anita Baker and several others. I’ll be looking for your face, in the place this evening for “Great Soul Performances” and “Great Soul Performances 2: The 80s” on RadioMaxMusic.Com. DISCO!

Thursday 10pm: Black History Month Feature Artist – Wilson Pickett

Wilson Pickett (March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006) was an American singer and songwriter.

A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the US R&B charts, many of which crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100. Among his best-known hits are “In the Midnight Hour” (which he co-wrote), “Land of 1,000 Dances”, “Mustang Sally”, and “Funky Broadway”.

Pickett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, in recognition of his impact on songwriting and recording.

Pickett died of a heart attack on January 19, 2006, in Reston, Virginia. He was 64. He was laid to rest in a mausoleum at Evergreen Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. Pickett spent many years in Louisville. The eulogy was delivered by Pastor Steve Owens of Decatur, Georgia. Little Richard, a long-time friend of Pickett’s, spoke about him and preached a message at the funeral. Pickett was remembered on March 20, 2006, at New York’s B.B. King Blues Club with performances by the Commitments, Ben E. King, his long-term backing band the Midnight Movers, soul singer Bruce “Big Daddy” Wayne, and Southside Johnny in front of an audience that included members of his family, including two brothers. – Wikipedia

Thursday 10pm: Black History Month Feature Artist – Tina Turner

Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939) is an American-born Swiss singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and author. Born and raised in the Southeastern United States, Turner relinquished her American citizenship after obtaining Swiss citizenship in 2013.

She began her career in 1958 as a featured singer with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm, first recording under the name “Little Ann”. Her introduction to the public as Tina Turner began in 1960 as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Success followed with a string of notable hits credited to the duo, including “A Fool in Love”, “River Deep – Mountain High” (1966), “Proud Mary” (1971), and “Nutbush City Limits” (1973), a song that she wrote. In her autobiography, I, Tina (1986), she revealed several instances of severe domestic abuse against her by Ike Turner prior to their 1976 split and subsequent 1978 divorce. Raised a Baptist, she encountered faith with Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism in 1971, crediting the spiritual chant of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, which Turner says helped her to endure during difficult times.

After her divorce from Ike Turner, she rebuilt her career through live performances. In the 1980s, Turner launched a major comeback with another string of hits, starting in late 1983 with the single “Let’s Stay Together” followed by the 1984 release of her fifth solo album Private Dancer which became a worldwide success. The album contained the song “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, which became Turner’s biggest hit and won four Grammy Awards including Record of the Year. Her solo success continued throughout the 1980s and 90s with multi-platinum albums including Break Every Rule and Foreign Affair, and with singles such as “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)”, “Typical Male”, “The Best”, “I Don’t Wanna Fight”, and “GoldenEye”, for the 1995 James Bond film of the same name.

In 1993, What’s Love Got to Do with It, a biographical film adapted from her autobiography, was released along with an accompanying soundtrack album. In addition to her musical career, Turner has also garnered success acting in films, including the role of the Acid Queen in the 1975 rock musical Tommy, a starring role alongside Mel Gibson in the 1985 action film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and a cameo role in the 1993 film Last Action Hero.

One of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, she has also been referred to as The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Her combined album and single sales total approximately 100 million copies worldwide. Turner has also sold more concert tickets than any other solo performer in history. In 2008, Turner returned from semi-retirement to embark on her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour. Turner’s tour became one of the highest selling ticketed shows of 2008–09. She is noted for her energetic stage presence, powerful vocals, and career longevity.

Throughout her career, she has won eleven Grammy Awards, including eight competitive awards and three Grammy Hall of Fame awards. Rolling Stone ranked Turner 63rd on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. and 17th on their list of the 100 greatest singers of all time. In 1991, Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In January 2018, it was announced that Turner will be one of the recipients of the Grammy Lifetime

Wednesday 10pm: Empire State Soul Club with Connie T. Empress

From the archives we feature two hours of the Empire State Soul Club from February 14, 2006 and another February program from 2007 featuring the Top 10 Soul Hits of 1975.  Join Connie T. Empress 10pm on RadioMaxMusic.

Saturday 7pm: Great Soul Performances with Bobby Jay

When we get together this evening for “Great Soul Performances” I’ll be saluting the city of Memphis, Tennessee, with many of the artists from Stax and Hi Records. In addition, you’ll hear recollections and the sounds of my former Memphis Radio Station; the Big 1070 Soul, WDIA. On the playlist will be: Booker T. & the MGs, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave, Ann Peebles, the Soul Children, Otis Redding, Al Green, Ollie & the Nightingales, Isaac Hayes, the Temprees, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor and more. It begins at 7PM ET, then immediately following on “Great Soul Performances 2: The 80s” we’ll be presenting music from: Earth, Wind & Fire, Barry White, Madonna, Tone Loc, Jocko Henderson, the Main Ingredient, Yarbrough & Peoples, Ben E. King, New Edition, the Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis and several others. I thinks it’s going to be a good evening for music and memories as we spotlight the music of Memphis and the 50,000 watt Soul Giant, WDIA and fabulous 80s sounds on “Great Soul Performances” and “Great Soul Performances 2:The 80s,” on the “Home Of The Hits,” RadioMaxMusic.Com.