RIP Levi Stubbs
October 17, 2008 Leave a comment
The Four Tops pose at Heathrow airport in London in November, 1966. From left: Abdul Fakir, Levi Stubbs, Lawrence Payton and Renaldo Benson.
Levi Stubbs, the lead singer of the Four Tops, passed away yesterday. This guy was a total genius. Here is proof.
Stubbs delivered bold and soulful performances from the Tops’ breakthrough hit…
..to their early 70s hits…
…and according to his obit in the WASHINGTON POST, for basically his whole life:
Critics noted their talent and appeal were undiminished over the years. They made hundreds of concert dates annually, often with the Temptations. A New Yorker reporter attending a Four Tops performance in 1993 wrote its performance was “less of an oldies show than a master class in the golden age of Motor City soul.”
If for some reason you’ve been living under a rock and never heard either of the two songs above or “Bernadette,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “The Same Old Song,” “I Can’t Help Myself” (tragically ruined by Duncan Hines), and their awesome cover of “Walk Away Renee,” which is an anomaly in that it’s a soul group covering a song by a white bread pop group, instead of the other way around (cf. Pat Boone’s career) – anyway this is a run on sentence, but you will probably have seen him in this fine film:
Off topic, an interesting thing about this movie is that they originally shot the dark ending from the play, dropping $5 million on special effects, but test audiences hated the fact that all the main characters got eaten by the plant, along with the rest of humanity. So they reshot it with a happy ending that isn’t nearly as good. The surviving footage of the original ending is in terrible shape, but the ending is WAY better than in the existing movie. Here it is in three parts.