R.I.P. Levi Stubbs (Four Tops)

Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops died today at age 72. They were my favorite Motown group (along with the Shirelles and the Supremes.) I still remember when they played at my high school and I jumped onstage to hug him at the end.

Formed while its original members were in high school, the Four Tops were one of the most successful groups of the 20th century. They had more than 40 hits on the Billboard pop charts, including their first No. 1 single, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” in 1964.

Here's 1966 and Baby I Need Your Loving: [More..]

R.I.P. Levi Stubbs.

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    Great Job (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by CoralGables on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:40:43 PM EST
    I was looking for the best Four Tops video available to send to you for tonight's late night open thread and couldn't decide on one. You grabbed a half a dozen and made it easy. (I've been singing Sugar Pie Honey Bunch all afternoon)

    Thanks, I must have viewed (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:58:04 PM EST
    40 of them to pick these. 1964-66 were such simple times. I was thinking earlier of how fast we moved back then from Motown and the Four Seasons to Bob Dylan and protest songs. Amazing what a war can do to childhood -- on so many levels.

    Probably shouldn't advertise this... (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by CoralGables on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 10:03:41 PM EST
    but I saw The Four Seasons on Miami Beach (not in their heyday). Wish I had seen The Four Tops when they were here in one of the videos you posted.

    Can't believe I actually recognized a (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:51:14 PM EST
    couple of those songs.  However did that happen?

    For one (none / 0) (#3)
    by CoralGables on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:57:12 PM EST
    You probably see Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid dancing in "Something To Talk About". How can ya not dance to Sugar Pie Honey Bunch.

    We lost several good musicians this month so far.. (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by TomStewart on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 10:15:15 PM EST
    Neal Hefti (great jazz arranger who help form the Count Basie sound, and composed the 'Batman' and 'Odd Couple' themes) and Nick Reynolds, original member of the Kingston Trio (sang the 'MTA Song', among others). Since John Stewart died earlier this year, that leaves only Bob Shane alive from the Trio's heyday.

    I'm putting the Four Tops on my iPod tonight, and thinking of some old friends I should, and some I would if I still could.

    So sad. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by scribe on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 04:17:15 AM EST
    The Tops' and Stubbs music was and is so beautiful.

    Makes one glad we have recordings.


    WOW (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpa1 on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 08:32:34 AM EST
    The best concert I ever went to was seeing the Four Tops at college in the 1967.  They ignited the audience and Levi walked through the aisles to make it one of the most exciting experiences ever.  At frat parties, their songs were always #1 with all of us singing "It's the Same Ole Song" and "Reach Out" as we danced and drank much to much.  At a reunion last year I met the girl I took to that concert and we were reliving it with fireworks in our eyes while our spouses watched our excitement and thought we were nuts.  You can't really explain how BIG they were on the college campuses.  You had to be there.

    I also love the Shirelles and saw Shirley Austin Reeves in concert a few years ago and that woman could still sing.  

    I might have mentioned this before but if you are  a Motown fan and you'll be in Las Vegas, you must go to see Hitzville, The Show at the Harmon Theater.  It is the best deal in Vegas and I felt a little bit of that 1967 excitement watching these incredible performers.  Here is the website: http://www.hitzvilletheshow.com/ .  We were able to get discounted tickets for $37 or $74 for two, with dinner.  The next night it cost us $520 for the "O" show and dinner at Craftsteak and after seeing Hitzville it was quite the costly let down.

    Hearing about Levi gave me the same deep and sad feeling I had when Paul Newman died...to incredible performers that meant so much to our generation.

    correction (none / 0) (#10)
    by cpa1 on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 09:06:30 AM EST
    besides the typos, we sang all the songs you listed except for "Don't Walk Away Renee" which was originally performed by the Left Banke. By 1969 our fraternity and many of them on campus lost their places as the center of the social scene and drugs replaced beer and grain alcohol parties.  Music also changed as so many of us were concerned about getting drafted and about how are lives were being manipulated by politicians with no morals and as it turns out no brains.

    The Four Tops man.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 08:59:30 AM EST
    so smooth, so sweet...so cool.