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Still Water – The Four Tops

Still Water – The Four Tops

“Still Water (Love)” is a 1970 hit single written by Smokey Robinson and Frank Wilson (who also produced the track) for Motown singing group The Four Tops, who took the song to the Top Ten of the UK Pop Charts and to #11 in the US Pop Chart.[1]

The socially conscious single was a departure from the group’s past recordings and produced a smoother sound than the raucous Norman Whitfield productions that belayed on The Temptations. The single features Miracles member Marv Tarplin on guitar and The Andantes adding in additional background vocals shouting out “Still water!” Singers Brenda Joyce Evans and Billie Rae Calvin, brought to Motown by Bobby Taylor (and soon to be part of Norman Whitfield’s group The Undisputed Truth), also add backing vocals. The single became The Tops’ first Top Ten R&B hit since 1967’s “Bernadette“.

This song was noted for its repeated chord phrases, beginning with E-Flat Major, shifting to C Minor, then to B-Flat Major, before re to E-Flatt Major, over and over again, with any changes or alterations to the song’s fade.

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“Shake Me, Wake Me” The Four Tops

“Shake Me, Wake Me” The Four Tops

Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over)” is a 1966 song written and produced by Holland–Dozier–Holland and released as a single by the Four Tops on the Motown label. The song peaked at number eighteen on the US Pop Singles chart. It peaked at number five on the R&B singles chart.

Barbra Streisand recorded her version in her 1975’s album Lazy Afternoon, it was the second single of the album and peaked #14 on Dance Music/Club Play Singles and #10 on Disco Singles charts.

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“The Four Tops – Baby I Need Your Loving”

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Baby I Need Your Loving” is a 1964 hit single recorded by the Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland,[1] the song was the group’s first Motown single and their first pop Top 20 hit, making it to number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 in the fall of 1964. It was also their first million-selling hit single.

British group The Fourmost released their version of this song, reaching #24 in November 1964. A surviving episode of the trendy 1960s TV music series Ready Steady Go! shows them performing the song.

The Supremes covered the song in 1966 in their The Supremes A’ Go Go album.

The song was recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1967. His version, titled “Baby I Need Your Lovin'”, was released as a single, and became a number-three hit on the Billboard pop chart. It was also performed as a duet by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell on their 1969 album, Easy.

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“The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)”

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The four tops – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch): https://youtu.be/z59EVHU8MjI

The Four Tops are an American vocal quartet from Detroit, Michigan 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, and groupmates Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades, having gone from 1953 until 1997 without a change in personnel.

The Four Tops were among a number of groups, including The Miracles, The Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Temptations, and The Supremes, who established the Motown Sound around the world during the 1960s. They were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer, whereas most male/mixed vocal groups of the time were fronted by a tenor.

The group was the main male vocal group for the highly successful songwriting and production team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, who crafted a stream of hit singles on Motown. These included two Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits for the Tops: “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” in 1965 and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” in 1966. After Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1967, the Four Tops were assigned to a number of producers, primarily Frank Wilson, but generally with less success.

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 1970s, including the million-seller, “Ain’t No Woman”, their second release on Dunhill, produced by Steve Barri and composers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter.

In the 1980s, the Four Tops recorded for Casablanca Records, Arista Records and Motown, returning to that label on two occasions for brief stays. Apart from their Indestructible album (owned by Sony Music Entertainment), Universal Music Group controls the rights to their entire post-1963 catalog (through various mergers and acquisitions), as well as their 1956 single, “Could It Be You”.

A change of line-up was finally forced upon the group when Lawrence Payton died on June 20, 1997. The group initially continued as a three-piece under the name The Tops,[1] before Theo Peoples (formerly of The Temptations) was recruited as the new fourth member. Peoples eventually took over the role of lead singer when Stubbs suffered a stroke in 2000, with Ronnie McNeir then joining the group. On July 1, 2005, Benson died of lung cancer with Payton’s son Roquel Payton replacing him. Levi Stubbs died on October 17, 2008.

Fakir, McNeir, Payton, and Harold “Spike” Bonhart, who replaced Peoples in 2011, are still performing together as the Four Tops. As of 2014, fifty years after their first Motown hit, Fakir is the only surviving founding member of the original group and Payton is a second-generation member.

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