Levi Stubbs, Abdul Fakir, Renaldo Benson and Lawrence Payton began singing in 1953 while attending high school in Detroit under the name “The Four Ames”, but would change their name to “The Four Tops” to dismiss any confusion with the very successful group, “The Ames Brothers”.
While touring as a nightclub act they recorded for several record companies including Chess and Columbia, but it was not until they signed with home town label Motown that The Four Tops had their first big hit in 1964, “Baby, I Need Your Lovin’.” The following year The Four Tops had their first #1 hit, “I Can’t Help Myself”. It was followed a few months later with a top five, “It’s the Same Old Song”. In 1966 “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” topped the charts and was followed in 1967 with two top five hits, “Standing in the Shadows of Love” and “Bernadette”.
Among their other hits were, “Something About You,” “Shake Me, Wake Me,” “Walk Away Renee,” “If I Were a Carpenter,” “Still Water,” “River Deep, Mountain High,” “Keeper of the Castle” and “Ain’t No Woman, Like the One I’ve Got.”
Until the passing of Laurence Payton in 1997, the original Four Tops stayed together performing for four decades. Levi Stubbs passed away at 72 years of age in 2008.
The four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009.