It's hard to imagine the voice of the Four Tops ever being stilled. It was so huge, so tough, so full of everything that make life worth living (love, hope, heartbreak, pain) that you'd figure somehow Levi Stubbs would live forever. Sadly, Stubbs passed away today at home in Detroit after a long illness but that voice, and the songs he sang, will never die. You know the hits. They are massive and timeless, glittering products of the Motown machine like "Reach Out (I'll Be There)", "Standing in the Shadows of Love", "I Can't Help Myself" and the awe-inspiring "Bernadette". Songs that Stubbs destroyed with his gravel-throated howl and his raw, exposed soul. If you dig behind the songs you can hear daily on oldies stations around the globe though, you'll find some pretty great songs that Stubbs (and the other three guys, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton, who all stuck together for an unheard of 43 years!) knocks out of the park as easily as tying his shoes. (By the way, that's Stubbs on the left in a rare photo in which the Four Tops weren't standing shoulder to shoulder.)
All songs by the Four Tops!
"Walk Away Renee"
"7 Rooms of Gloom"
"Gotta Say It, Gonna Tell It Like It Is"
"We've Got a Strong Love (On Our Side)"
"Lost in a Pool of Red"
"(It's the Way) Nature Planned It"
"Love is the Answer"
"One Chain (Don't Make No Prison)"
While his singing for the Four Tops defined his career, after all he never released a solo record of any kind, it would be wrong not to mention Stubbs' stellar work as the voice of Audrey II in the 1986 movie version of "Little Shop of Horrors".
"Mean Green Mother from Outerspace"