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R.I.P. Levi Stubbs (1936 - 2008)

Levi Stubbs, the distinctive lead singer of The Four Tops has died, Rolling Stone is reporting. Stubbs was the voice behind all the Tops' hits–"Bernadette," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)," "Reach Out I'll Be There" and many other–and stayed with the group until sidelined by ill health in 2000. Stubbs' baritone-stretching-to-tenor vocals were characterized by their great urgency, a feeling underscored by the writing team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, which played to the groups strengths. After HDH split with Motown, the hits slowed down for Stubbs' Tops, but the group remained a chart presence and popular touring act. They also, remarkably for a veteran soul act, kept their original line-up intact until the 1997 death of Lawrence Payton.

Here's Stubbs with the Four Tops followed by a Stubbs-inspired Billy Bragg song.


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