original post: Monday, October 20, 2008
On October 17, Levi Stubbs, the greatest voice from the heyday of Motown was silenced after a long bout with cancer. Compared to the smooth supple singing of Smoky Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Eddie Kendricks (of The Temptations) Stubbs was all about emotion, singing like a man whose survival depended on each word that came of his mouth in a strangled cry.Stubbs began his professional singing career with friends Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton to form the Four Aims in 1954.
Two years later, the group changed their name to the Four Tops. The group began as a supper-club act before finally signing to Motown Records in 1963; by the end of the decade, the Four Tops had over a dozen hits to their name.Although Stubbs was a natural baritone, most of the Four Tops' hits were written in a tenor range to give the lead vocals a sense of urgency. The Four Tops were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.Go back and listen to four of the greatest songs in the Motown catelogue, songs we all know by heart, but this time around, listen to the VOICE. The songs:
Baby I Need Your Loving: Listen to Stubb strangled cry when he sings, "Baby I need your lovin', GOT to have all your lovin'."
Reach Out, I'll Be There: Great line - “… the world has grown COLD … drifting out on your OWN … and you need a hand to HOLD.”
Bernadette: Just listen to they way he screeches her name - "Bernadette!"
Standing In the Shadows of Love: Greatest line of any Motown song: "It may come tomorrow, it may come tomorrow / But it's for sure I've got nothin' but sorrow."