Four Tops’ Levi Stubbs Sr. HOMEGOING SERVICES

Aretha Tributes Levi
When She was My girl
Same Old Song!
Ain’t No Woman like the One I Got!
Baby I need your Lovin
On Sesame Street
Shake Me, Wake Me!
I Believe In You and Me!
NOW......Let Us Send The Master Home in STYLE ……..In The Midst of All his Friends
The Manhattans, The Cadillacs, The Drifters, Temptations, The Rest of the FOUR TOPS

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Comment by Ronn Nichols on October 21, 2008 at 3:30am
You are SUCH A DREAM..................I LOVE EVERYTHING YOU DID! I LOVE You for that
Comment by Edie Antoinette on October 19, 2008 at 10:56pm

The Four Tops

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(top) Abdul (Duke) Fakir, Lawrence Payton,
(bottom) Levi Stubbs, Renaldo (Obie) Benson
One of Motown's most consistent hitmakers and its longest lived lineup (40 years), the Four Tops were the most stable and consistent vocal groups to emerge from Motown Records in the '60s, charting with scores of upbeat love songs featuring Levi Stubbs' rough hewn lead vocals.
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The Four Tops were products of Detroit's North End.

Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir sang together in a group while attending Pershing High School. Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton were boyhood friends and attended Northern High together in Detroit who. It was while singing at a friends birthday party in 1954 they found they were good at it. They began practicing the next day and soon began calling themselves the Four Aims.

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Roquel "Billy" Davis who was Larry Payton's cousin, sometimes sang with the group as the fifth Aim and was later to be Berry Gordy's songwriting partner sent a demo tape to Chess Records in Chicago. They were sent a bus ticket and invited to Chicago to audition. It seems that Chess was more interested in Davis' writing skill than the group. However Davis' persistence ended up with their being signed to Chess Records in 1956. They then changed their name to the Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers. They only recorded one single with Chess "Kiss Me Baby' which flopped. They then went to Red Top and Riverside before they were signed by John Hammond to Columbia in 1960 where they recorded "Ain't That Love." This was the first of a string of supper club style flops that lasted for seven years on a number of labels. All the while, they were performing in top clubs. The Four Tops toured with the Billy Eckstine revue in the early '60s.

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By 1964, they had signed with old friend Berry Gordy's Motown Records. Gordy had them record "Breaking Through" for his experimental Workshop Jazz subsidiary. Later that year they were finally directed toward contemporary soul. Under the wing of Motown's top production and recording team, Holland-Dozier-Holland, the Four Tops were launched with "Baby I Need Your Loving," which went to #11 in 1964. Over the next eight years The Four Tops appeared on the charts almost thirty times, and Levi Stubbs became an international star and became an influence on singers from the Sixties to the present time.

The Four Top's 1965 hits included "Ask the Lonely" (#24), "Same Old Song" (#5), and "I Can't Help Myself" (#1). "Reach Out and I'll Be There" hit #1 in October, 1966, followed by "Standing in the Shadows of Love" (#6) in 1967.

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Like other Motown acts, the Four Tops became popular in major nightclubs around the world. Like virtually all of Motown's top acts, The Four Tops sought longevity and stability of a career built equally on live appearances and records. In 1967 they had hits with "Bernadette" (#4) and "Seven Rooms of Gloom" (#14); but when Holland-Dozier-Holland left in 1967, their charting hits declined. In fact two of their bigger charting hits of 1968 were covers: the Left Banke's "Walk Away Renee" (#14) and Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter" (#20). However, the Tops did record a number of adventurous and successful records with other Motown producers, including "River Deep, Mountain High," with the Jean Terrell led Supremes (#14 pop, #7 R&B, 1970) and "Still Water" (#11 pop, #4 R&B, 1970. In addition Obie Benson cowrote Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."

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In 1972, the Four Tops moved to ABC/Dunhill records where they recorded a couple of million sellers "Keeper of the Castle (#10) and in 1973 "There Ain't No Woman" (#4). It was only a brief pop chart resurgence, but the Tops continued to have Top 20 R&B hits.

In 1981 they moved to Casablanca Records and had a hit with "When She Was My Girl"fourtops-392w.JPG (21655 bytes) (#11 pop, #1 R&B). Two years later they were back at Motown and after performing in a "battle of bands" with the Temptations on the Motown 25th anniversary television special, they began the first of several coheadlining tours with the Temptations, billed as T 'n' T. The first tour ran nearly three years, went around the world, and include sold out stint on Broadway.

In 1986 Stubbs provided the voice for the man-eating plant in the film Little Shop of Horrors. In 1985 the Tops had its last Motown hit "Sexy Ways" (#21 R&B). In 1988 they signed with Arista and recorded "Indestructible" (#35 pop, #66 R&B).

In 1989 the Four Tops appeared on Arethea Franklin's Through the Storm, and in 1990 Steve Wonder inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Comment by Edie Antoinette on October 19, 2008 at 10:18pm

Comment by Edie Antoinette on October 19, 2008 at 9:22pm
Will do Ronn...
Comment by Ronn Nichols on October 19, 2008 at 8:38pm
Thanks Everybody! .............don't forget you can add your own personal video ...pic...or personal thought! That way my tribute can become OUR EFFORT which is what I would like

Comment by Edie Antoinette on October 19, 2008 at 8:04pm
Mighty voice is right. I'm going to put something together as well soon.
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on October 19, 2008 at 7:45pm
I'm loving this, that mighty voice is gone, but will never be forgotten
Comment by Edie Antoinette on October 19, 2008 at 7:33pm
That Aretha tribute is so heart warming!
Comment by Edie Antoinette on October 19, 2008 at 7:26pm
Thanks so much...

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Spotlight | Maze

  1. play Maze — 03 Feel That You're Feelin'
  2. play Maze — 04 Somebody Else's Arms
  3. play Maze — 04 Southern Girl
  4. play Maze — Can't Get Over You
  5. play Maze — Golden Time Of Day
  6. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  7. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  8. play Norman Brown — Still
  9. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  10. play miles 2
  11. play miles 3
  12. play miles 4
  13. play miles 5
  14. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  15. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  16. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  17. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue

The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 

As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.


The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)

Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪



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