Friday, October 17, 2008

Levi Stubbs, R.I.P.

In 1953, Levi Stubbs, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton formed what would eventually become The Four Tops. The group signed with Motown in 1963 and with Levi's distinctive baritone performing lead, a string of hits followed. These songs helped define The Motown Sound and went on to become classics. They include "Baby I Need Your Loving", "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)", "It's the Same Old Song","Reach Out I'll Be There", "Standing in the Shadows of Love", "Bernadette", and "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)". A rarity in music, the Tops, maintained their original lineup until Payton's death in 1997.

You may also recognize Levi as the voice of Audrey II, the man-eating plant in the 1986 movie version of Little Shop of Horrors ("Feed me, Seymour!").

Levi passed away today after a long illness. He was 72. I'll let the man's work serve as a tribute to his talents.

First, from 1965, Levi and the Tops performing "Baby, I Need Your Loving" .

From 1966, a color clip of Levi and the guys performing "It's the Same Old Song". The image isn't great but its the music that's important.

The final clip, also from 1966, is "Reach Out, I'll Be There".

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