20 Of The Craziest Animals From The Deep Sea Top 20 Four Tops Hits

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Top 20 Four Tops Hits

In the early 1950s, four Detroit high school students played at a local birthday party. After that, these four students stayed together as one of the biggest R&B groups for four decades.

Levi Stubbs (brother of The Falcon’s Joe Stubbs and cousin of Jackie Wilson), Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton called themselves the Four Thoughts.

The Four Minds signed with Chess Records in 1956 and changed their name to the Four Tops, so they wouldn’t be confused with the pop family group, The Ames Brothers.

Recording with four different record labels and no hits, The Four Tops came to the attention of Motown Records executive, Berry Gordy Jr. In 1963, they signed with Motown and initially did backup work for other Motown artists. They can be heard on The Supremes’ “Run, Run, Run.”

In 1964, the writing group, Holland-Dozier-Holland came up with a song perfectly suited for the quartet. “Baby I Need Your Lover” became their first of many Billboard top 20 hits.

On the charts, the Top Four had five Top 40 hits, two going to number one. Here’s a look at the Top Four biggest twenty, according to Billboard’s Top 40 charts:

1. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – 1965 – Their biggest single went to number one for two weeks and was covered by The Supremes, Donnie Elbert (who reached #22) and Dolly Parton. It is also used in Kellogg’s Honey Smacks and Duncan Hines brownie mix ads.

2. Dede, I’ll Be There – 1966 – Their only number one song was also the #3 song for 1966.

3. Not A Woman (Like The One I Had) – 1973 – In 1972, Four Peaks left Motown, when the label moved to LA, and signed with the ABC/Dunhill label. This song, originally recorded by Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, would be the Big Four’s biggest hit after leaving Motown. It’s on their “Castle Keeper” album.

4. Bernadette – 1967 – From the album “Come Out” this song is on the soundtrack of “Zodiac.” On the CBS-TV sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory,” Howard Wolowitz’s character uses the song as a ringtone for his girlfriend.

5. It’s the Same Old Song – 1965 – Sequel to “I Can’t Help Myself” features the same chords. It was covered by Jonathan King, KC and the Sunshine Band and the Tops appeared in a Velveeta commercial song “It’s the Same Old Side.”

6. Standing in the Shadows of Love – 1967 – Also from the album “Get Out”. In 1990, Aerosmith used a riff in their single “Another Influence” similar to this song. Aerosmith’s lawyers, in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit, gave Holland-Dozier-Holland credit only for Aerosmith.

7. Keeper of the Castle – 1972 – Their first single after leaving Motown went to #10 on the weekly chart. It is from the album of the same name.

8. When You Were My Girl – 1981 – It had been eight years since the band had a top 40 hit and after signing with Casablanca Records they did so. It would also be their last top 40 hit for seven more years.

9. Baby I Need You Love – 1964 – Their very first hit went to #11 on the weekly chart. There have been several cover versions, including those by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Gene Pitney and Johnny Rivers, which took his version to #3 on the weekly charts.

10. Still Water (Love) – 1970 – Written by Smokey Robinson and Frank Wilson, this silky tune is a departure from the hard-edged songs the Tops have produced. From the album “Still Waters Run Deep”, this single features Marv Tarplin, of The Wonders, on guitar.

11. River Deep – Mountain High – 1971 – Written by Phil Spector for Ike & Tina Turner in 1966, it was later covered by Eric Burdon and the Animals in 1968. The most successful cover version was by The Four Tops, when they gather up with The Supremes, without Diana Ross, and took the Top 20.

12. 7 Rooms Of Gloom – 1967 – Also covered by Blondie and Pat Benetar, the Top Four don’t want to change the music and not make it profitable. The B-side, “I’ll Turn to Stone” was also released, but only made it to #76 on the charts.

13. Walk Away Renee – 1968 – Originally recorded by The Left Banke in 1966 and went to #5, The Top Four had their most successful cover version of this song. Renee is the love of Left Bank keyboardist, Michael Brown, who wrote the song about bassist Tom Finn’s girlfriend.

14. How much is a man? – 1973 – This song was featured on the soundtrack album and in the movie, “Shaft In Africa” ​​directed by Richard Roundtree.

15. Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over) – 1966 – Poor Levi Stubbs can’t believe his wife is leaving him for another man. But he did, in this top 20 hit that has also been covered by Barbra Streisand, The Supremes and Shaun Cassidy.

16. Something About You – 1965 – They followed up with “The Same Old Song” this song barely cracked the top 20. Not to be confused with Level 42’s song of the same name.

17. You Keep Running Away – 1967 – From their “Greatest Hits” album, this song, like most of them alone, was backed by The Adantes, who backed many Motown artists.

18. If I Were A Carpenter – 1968 – Written by Tim Hardin and originally recorded by Bobby Darin in 1966, The Four Tops covered it in 1968 and went top 20 with it.

19. It’s All In The Game – 1970 – Another cover version of a great standard, first recorded by Tommy Edwards in 1958, the four top soulful sound stands out in this top 30 hit for them.

20. Ask The Lonely – 1965 – Their third single for Motown was written by longtime staffers, Mickey Stevenson and Ivy Joe Hunter.

The Top Four’s last Top 40 hit was “Indestructible” in 1988.

The quartet also did some film work singing a song in the 1982 film, “Grease 2.” Levi Stubbs provided the voice of the voracious plant, Audrey II, in the 1986 musical film, “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Running late since recording in December 1988, the band missed their flight home from their European tour. It turned out to be Pan Am flight 103, which crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, when a terrorist bomb hit it.

In 1997, after 44 years without ever changing staff, Lawrence Payton died of lung cancer. “Obie” Benson also died of lung cancer eight years later. Lead singer, Levi Stubbs, died at his home in Detroit in 2008. “Duke” Fakir is the only surviving original member, who performed with three other members as The Four Tops.

The Top Four were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

In 2009, they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Their song, “Get There, I’ll Be There” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

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