[JPL] Levi Stubbs Former Lead Vocalist of the Four Tops Dead at 70

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Fri Oct 17 11:40:21 EDT 2008


Levi Stubbs Former Lead Vocalist of the Four Tops Dead at 70

MAA EXCLUSIVE: Levi Stubbs the most profound lead vocalist in American
history died this morning at his Detroit home sources have confirmed.
Stubbs who suffered a series of strokes and other illnesses had been
sick for a number of years prior to today's news. It was most visible
during the televised "50 year anniversary Celebration of the Four Tops"
broadcast a few years ago.
 
During the 80s and 90s the Tops were one of 3 Motown groups that still
had all of their original members performing. The only other groups were
the Velvelettes and Martha and the Vandellas.
 
The Four Tops started their career in the mid 50s, and were already
professional recording artists and performers by the time they got to
Motown.
 
They recorded for several labels before signing to Motown in 1963.
"Baby, I Need Your Loving" (July 1964), written and produced by the team
of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, was their first
substantial hit, 

setting the pattern for a series of songs showcasing Stubbs's emotive
wail set against the Benson-Payton-Fakir harmony line. Need and longing
would be the hallmarks of Stubbs's singing on such songs as "Ask the
Lonely" (January 1965), which launched a string of R&B Top Ten/pop Top
40 hits over the next two years.

Its follow-up, "I Can't Help Myself" (April 1965), hit number one and
was itself followed by "It's the Same Old Song" (July 1965), "Something
About You" (October 1965), "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)"
(February 1966), "Loving You Is Sweeter than Ever" (May 1966). A second
no1, "Reach Out, I'll Be There" (August 1966), "Standing in the Shadows
of Love" (November 1966), "Bernadette" (February 1967), "7 Rooms of
Gloom" (May 1967), and "You Keep Running Away" (August 1967).

Holland-Dozier-Holland who wrote a ton of the Four Tops hits left Motown
(1967). With fortitude and conviction Stubbs and the gang still cranked
out hits such as "If I were You Carpenter",

"It's All in the Game," "Still Water (Love)," a duet with the Supremes
on "River Deep Mountain High," and "Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten
Out My Life)," all of which made the R&B Top Ten and the pop Top 40.

They scored one more R&B Top Ten on Motown, with "(It's the Way) Nature
Planned It". They then moved to Dunhill, (later acquired by ABC, then by
MCA) Records, where they enjoyed another string of hits. This included
"Keeper of the Castle" (October 1972), the gold-selling "Ain't No Woman
(Like the One I Got)" (January 1973), "Are You Man Enough" (June 1973),
"Sweet Understanding Love" (September 1973), "One Chain Don't Make No
Prison" (April 1974), and "Midnight Flower" (July 1974). They returned
to the R&B Top Ten with "Catfish" (August 1976), and moved to Casablanca
(since acquired by PolyGram) for the R&B number one "When She Was My
Girl" (September 1981).

Tragedy struck the group when Laurence Payton died in 1997, Obie Benson
died in 2005, and now Levi Stubbs October 17, 2008 at the age of 70.

Funeral arrangements will be provided at a later date. 



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