The Four Tops are a vocal quartet from Detroit, Michigan….who helped to define the city’s Motown sound of the 1960’s…..as the group’s repertoire has included soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, doo-wop, jazz, and show tunes…..which were founded as theFour Aims….comprising of lead singer Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton….who remained together for over four decades….while performing from 1953 until 1997 without a change in personnel.
The Four Tops were among a number of groups which included Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, the Temptations, and the Supremes….all of which who established the Motown Sound heard around the world during the 1960’s. They were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer….whereas most other male and mixed vocal groups of the time were fronted by a tenor…..as the group was the main male vocal group for the highly successful songwriting and production team of Holland–Dozier–Holland….which crafted a stream of hit singles for Motown. These included two Billboard Hot 100 # 1 hits for the Tops with “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” in 1965….and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” in 1966.
When Motown left Detroit in 1972 to move to Los Angeles, California, the Tops stayed in Detroit but signed a new recording deal with ABC Records’ Dunhill imprint. Recording mainly in Los Angeles, they continued to have chart singles into the late 1970’s….which included their 1973 million-seller “Ain’t No Woman”…..then in the 1980’s, the Four Tops recorded for Casablanca Records, Arista Records and Motown….while returning to that label on two occasions for brief stays.
As seen in this video herewith….The Four Tops sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the start of the 1987 MLB All Star Game at the home of the Oakland Athletics.