** This is just a short biographical summary – for the full story, check out this artist’s reviews! **
The Four Tops had already been together for eight years, stalwarts of the Detroit live scene and occasional recording artists for various labels (including Chess), when Motown finally signed them up in 1962. It took a further two years before Motown actually released a single on them – but once they’d broken through, they became one of Motown’s best-loved and biggest-selling groups of the Sixties (in America and all over the world, especially in Britain), scoring big hits and earning critical plaudits wherever they went. Seasoned pros, their already remarkable harmonies were harnessed by the Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and production team, who paired them with the female Andantes to create a unique vocal sound that jumped out of the radio.
The group perhaps suffered more than any other Motown group with the departure of the Holland-Dozier-Holland team, as Motown seemed not to know what to do with them; paired with a succession of increasingly ill-suited writers and producers, and with sales beginning to slump, after a startling turn-of-the-decade revival the Four Tops finally left Motown in 1972, enjoying another ten years of hits for ABC-Dunhill.
The Tops had vowed early on never to go their separate ways, and the original line-up stayed together for 43 years, until the death of Lawrence Payton in 1997. Today, the Four Tops continue working with one surviving original member, the great Abdul “Duke” Fakir. They have been closely allied with the other great Motown male vocal group of the Sixties, the Temptations, touring together for many years now.
Review Archive: The FOUR TOPS (1964-66)
- Baby I Need Your Loving
- Call On Me
- Without The One You Love (Life’s Not Worthwhile)
- Love Has Gone
- Ask The Lonely
- Where Did You Go
- I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
- Sad Souvenirs
- It’s The Same Old Song
- Your Love Is Amazing
- Something About You
- Darling, I Hum Our Song
- Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over)
- Just As Long As You Need Me