WASHINGTON: Levi Stubbs, the lead
singer in the Motown rhythm and blues quartet, the Four
Tops, died Friday at the age of 72 after a long battle
Stubbs died in Detroit, Michigan, the birthplace of
Motown music and the city where he was born, raised and formed the
Four Tops in 1954 with high school friend Abdul “Duke” Fakir,
and Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton.
The band signed with the legendary Motown record label in
1963, and Stubbs' plaintive, gravelly voice helped the Four Tops to
the top of the charts throughout the 1960s with hits like
“Bernadette” and “Reach Out (I'll be there)”.
In 1986, Stubbs' baritone voice was used in the film “Little
Shop of Horrors” for Audrey II, the man-eating plant.
Stubbs was one of few contemporary singers who have
been immortalized in song by others.
“Levi Stubbs' Tears” by British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg
made it into the British charts in 1986.
The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Foll Hall of
Fame in 1990.
Stubbs' death brings the original band down to one
surviving member, his former school friend Fakir.
Payton died in 1997 and Benson in 2005.