Four Tops – Reach Out (1966)

“The Four Tops are a vocal quartet from Detroit, Michigan, USA, who helped to define the city’s Motown sound of the 1960s. The group’s repertoire has included soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, doo-wop, jazz, and show tunes. Founded as the Four Aims, lead singer Levi Stubbs, Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, Renaldo ‘Obie’ Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades, performing from 1953 until 1997 without a change in personnel. … Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote most of Levi Stubbs’s vocals in a tenor range, near the top of his range, in order to get a sense of strained urgency in his gospel preacher-inspired leads. They also wrote additional background vocals for a female group, the Andantes, on many of the songs, to add a high end to the low-voiced harmony of the Tops. Ivy Hunter’s ‘Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever’ was one of a few exceptions. August 1966 brought the release of the Four Tops’ all-time biggest hit and one of the most popular Motown songs ever. ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There‘ reached number 1 on the U.S. pop and R&B charts and the UK chart and soon became the Tops’ signature song. It was almost immediately followed by the similar-sounding ‘Standing in the Shadows of Love‘; its depiction of heartbreak reflecting the opposite of the optimism in ‘Reach Out’. It was another Top 10 hit for the Tops. The Top 10 U.S. hit ‘Bernadette‘ centered around a man’s all-consuming obsession with his lover,[2] continued the Four Tops’ successful run into April 1967, followed by the Top 20 hits ‘7-Rooms of Gloom‘, and ‘You Keep Running Away’. By now, the Tops were the most successful male Motown act in the United Kingdom (in the United States, they were second to the Temptations), and began experimenting with more mainstream pop hits. They scored hits with their versions of Tim Hardin‘s ‘If I Were a Carpenter’ in late 1967 (mid-1968 in the U.S.) and the Left Banke‘s ‘Walk Away Renée‘ in early 1968. These singles and the original ‘I’m in a Different World’ were their last hits produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, who left Motown in 1967 after disputes with Berry Gordy over royalties and ownership of company shares. …”
W – Reach Out (Four Tops album)
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: Reach Out (I’ll Be There), Bernadette, 7 ROOMS OF GLOOM (RARE VIDEO FOOTAGE), Standing In The Shadows Of Love

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