Levi Stubbs, Four Tops Singer, Is Dead at 72

By MICHELINE MAYNARD
Published: October 17, 2008

Listen to Mr.DETROIT – Levi Stubbs, the gravelly voiced, plaintive lead singer of the Motown group the Four Tops, the group’s front man in 1960s pop classics like “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” and “Bernadette,” died Friday at his home here. He was 72.

Read the complete NY Times Obituary here.

Right now I feel like I have lost a relative. OMG! I have to digest this sad news and come back with a tribute to this wonderfully talented man.


Ok, let’s celebrate the seasons of life of one of the best singers and human beings to have ever lived — Mr. Levi Stubbs!

Spring

  • “Just Ask the Lonely” is one of the early Four Tops songs that I fell in love with. In 1965 the song charted on Billboard #9 R&B and #24 Pop.  Oh that voice!  That voice! No one else ever will sound like Levi Stubbs.
  • When I purchased the 45 rpm of “Can’t Help Myself” in 1965 and was playing it on my little box turntable in the kitchen, I recall my mother dancing to it and I also remember that was the first time I ever saw my mother dance. Levi had the power!(LOL)

Summer

  • The 1970 “Still Water” Lp is one of the top 5 albums of all time for me! I treasure it in my music collection. When I was about 15 I just about wore the grooves off of my vinyl version. And it was one of the first CDs I purchased when it was time to move on from cassette tapes to CDs.  It is really hard to pick a favorite from this LP, but here is “It’s All in the Game.” This is the best version EVER! of this song – even over the original — hands down! I love it! Take a listen to hear for yourself. And BTW if you don’t own this Album you’d better get it asap: you are missing a gem.  Oh, one more thing, Levi and The Tops’ cover of “Reflections” on this LP beats The Supremes original version.

The Four Tops – It’s All in the Game (1970) charted Billboard #3 R&B and#24 Pop

  • Ok, so I couldn’t pick just one song from the classic “Still Water” LP.   Sorry, but I know you will like this one. I have got it on repeat on my CD player while I type this post so I thought you might want to hear it too.

The Four Tops – Love is the Answer (1970)

  • In 1972 my 8-track of “Keeper of the Castle” album was my constant companion while I traveled back and forth from college to home on holiday weekends and for laundry runs (SMILE). Thank you Mr. Stubbs.

Autumn

  • Listen to Mr. Stubbs as “The Mean Green Mother from Outer Space” from the 1986 movie remake of “The LIttle Shop of Horrors.”

Indian Summer

Winter

  • Aretha Franklin introduces a final appearance of and a musical tribute to Mr. Levi Stubbs

My condolences to the family of Levi Stubbs and to all of his fans all over the world who appreciated his life and talents. R.I.P. dear man. You will be truly, truly missed and never forgotten. Thank You for the many many musical memories.

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Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 4:51 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] the Motown label, but IMHO this one stands above them all thanks to the late great singing chops of Mr. Levi Stubbs.  “Everybody’s Talkin’” appeared on the Tops’ classic 1970 […]

  2. Greatest singer, voice, etc. Wonderful family man, committment to a group. No egomaniac, just a once in mankind person.

  3. Well put Lee.

    The Four Tops had a wonderfully successful career together with the same personnel for over four decades. The group only changed, for the first time ever, when Lawrence Payton died on June 20, 1997! This relationship lasted longer than most marriages! This says a lot about the type of men that made up this group.

    Simply remarkable. “The Four Tops” broke the mold.

  4. The 4 Tops-WOW The name says it all. Four gentlemen that were at the top of their game–which to me is love.
    Levi Stubbs was and will be one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES. His voice commanded not only being listened to but being heard as well..from the heart.
    If you ever get a chance to hear one of his earlier songs, listen to “I Am Your Man” Not the live version and I am not sure what LP it was on, but I’ve been looking for it for about the last 10 years and cannot find it. I found the live version (with a skit added) and the song itself is still “LEVI” and there is no mistake about it.
    God Bless the Stubbs family. Levi, you are and will be truly missed.
    N’Awlins Nita

    • Wonderful words of tribute Nita! Welcome to OSML and my sincere thanks for your contribution.


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