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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of The Four Tops

The Four Tops

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Album Review

Though they have been around for nearly 40 years, the Four Tops were never stronger than during the '60s and early '70s. With a dozen Top 20 and five Top Ten hits, the Tops were just as their name implies. As part of their Millennium Collection, Motown has selected 11 of these hits for consideration as one of the pre-eminent groups of the era. From the trademark stylings of Holland-Dozier-Holland to a tune by Smokey Robinson (who himself once considered the Tops to be "the baddest group around"), this best-of set is pretty much what it says to be. Though a cover of "If I Were a Carpenter" and a hyper-produced version of Robinson's "Still Water (Love)" may not reach the reminiscent heights of "Reach Out I'll Be There" and "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," the Tops' devotions to originally named girls like " (Walk Away) Renee" and "Bernadette" and their tales of love wanted, won, and lost easily make them one of the best-loved groups of the last century, if not the last millennium.

Biography

Formed: 1956 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Four Tops' story is one of longevity and togetherness: these Motown legends teamed up in high school and spent over four decades without a single personnel change. In between, they became one of the top-tier acts on a label with no shortage of talent, ranking with the Temptations and the Supremes as Motown's most consistent hitmakers. Where many other R&B vocal groups spotlighted a tenor-range lead singer, the Four Tops were fronted by deep-voiced Levi Stubbs, who never cut a solo record...
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