Saturday, October 18, 2008
Levi Stubbs Remembered (1936-2008)
(L-R) Renaldo 'Obie' Benson, Lawrence Payton, Abdul 'Duke' Fakir and Levi Stubbs
17 Seconds would like to extend its' condolences to Levi Stubbs' family. The singer of the Four Tops, who had been ill for several years, has died aged 72.
The Four Tops were one of Motown's biggest acts, up there with the likes of Diana Ross and The Supremes, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. While many acts changed their lineup over the years, the four original members Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton formed the Four Aims in 1954 and sung together until 1997, when Lawrence Payton died. Renaldo Benson died in 2005.
Primarily associated with the 1960s, they continued touring and making records for many years afterwards, and winning new fans. The 1980s saw a remixed version of 'Reach Out, I'll Be There' become a massive hit in the UK in 1988, waking this scribe up to Motown. They also had a hit in the film Buster 'Loco in Acapulco' selling to many who had not been born when the group was first formed. The 1980s also saw him provide the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop Of Horrors. Billy Bragg's first top 40 single 'Levi Stubb's tears' in 1986 namechecked the singer, as well as mentioning Holland/Dozier/Holland, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.
Just look over your shoulder...
Pay tribute to Levi Stubbs here
Levi Stubbs' obituary at the LA Times.
Levi Stubbs at the Guardian
The Four Tops -'Reach Out, I'll Be There.' mp3
And because I nearly cried listening to this earlier today, (well, I had a lump in my throat)...
Billy Bragg -'Levi Stubbs Tears.' mp3