Levi Stubbs, lead singer of the legendary Four Tops, died at his home in Detroit this week, aged 72.
With Stubbs' powerfully emotional voice leading, the Four Tops sold millions of records and became one of the most successful and influential groups on the Motown Records label.
They signed with Motown in 1963 and had 20 world-wide hits over the next 10 years, powered by Stubbs' great sound; I can't help myself, Reach out I'll be there, Barnadette and Standing in the shadows of love all went to the top of the Billboard pop chart.
They toured for decades. In 1988 they were in the charts again with Indestructible on Arista. In 1990 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and given a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Stubbs also voiced Audrey, the man-eating plant, in the film, Little Shop of Horrors.
Motown Historical Museum's Audley Smith said Stubbs had a voice as unique as Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder. Dennis Edwards, former singer with The Temptations, called Stubbs, "the greatest lead singer ever".
Born in Detroit in 1936, Stubbs knew future bandmate Abdul 'Duke' Fakir at high school. The pair met Lawrence Payton and Obie Benson while singing at a mutual friend's birthday party. Fakir is now the only surviving member of the quartet.
Barry Gordy, Martha Reeves and Smokey Robinson were among the mourners at Stubbs' funeral.
"These are four of the greatest people I have ever known. They were major pros even before they came to Motown", Gordy said when the Four Tops' star was unveiled in Hollywood.
As Smokey Robinson told mourners, "Levi made his mark on the world. All over the world, you'll be able to hear Levi Stubbs forever."
L-R, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson, Levi Stubbs, Abdul 'Duke' Fakir, Lawrence Payton. 1990.
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