Four Tops’ lead singer Levi Stubbs died yesterday (Friday 17th) aged 72 after a long illness. He’d had a stroke in 2000, and later developed cancer. Of all the great singers at Motown during its golden era, none had quite the emotional power that Stubbs had. His voice had a pleading, passionate quality that turned three minute pop tunes into high melodrama, and yet it was always believable – he never over-egged it, or lapsed into scenery-chewing.
One of the remarkable things about the Four Tops was their longevity. They’d already been together ten years before the hits started coming in the mid sixties, and were still charting after thirty, with the same line-up that had been together since 1954. Lawrence Payton and Obie Benson died in 1997 and 2007 respectively, leaving Duke Fakir the last Top standing.
There’s a full obituary here.
“Baby, I Need Your Loving” from some unknown European TV show in 1965.