R.I.P. to Four Tops lead vocalist Levi Stubbs, who, it was reported, died yesterday (Oct 17th) in his hometown of Detroit at age 72 after a long series of health problems which included cancer and a stroke. The stroke caused him to stop performing eight years ago -- although he did make an appearance with the Four Tops in July 2004 at the group's 50th anniversary concert at Detroit's Music Hall Center. It would be his last public appearance.
In an interview yesterday with Billboard magazine's website, Motown Alumni Association's Billy J. Wilson said of Stubbs that, "He had one of the most prolific and identifiable voices in American history. It's a deep loss, to the entire Motown family and to the world."
Indeed, along with a select few other vocalists, including Diana Ross of the Supremes, Stubbs was one of Motown Record's most recognizable voices on timeworn Four Tops classics such as "Baby I Need Your Loving," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," "Standing In The Shadows Of Love," "Reach Out I'll Be There" and "Bernadette."
The Four Tops, who originally formed in 1954 as the Four Aims and signed with Motown in 1963, sold over 50 million records throughout their illustrious career. In 1990 the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stubbs' death leaves Abdul "Duke" Fakir as the Four Tops' only living member from the original quartet. Below are a couple of 1960's Four Tops video clips featuring the late great Levi Stubbs.