Key Four Tops Vocalist Dies in Detroit
Mon, 20 Oct 2008 13:38:06
Levi Stubbs, Jr.—the lead singer of The Four Tops and one of Motown's truly distinct voices—died on Friday at his Detroit home. Stubbs had suffered a series of debilitating conditions in recent years, including cancer and a stroke. He was 72.
Comments about Stubbs' career have flooded the press in the days since his death. According to Billboard.com, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., referred to the singer as "the greatest interpreter of songs I've ever heard." Daryl Hall added that Stubbs "created a style so unique that it actually was never really imitated. And the songs that he sang, like all great songs, will remain timeless." And then there was the following statement from Otis Williams of The Temptations: "[He was] our black Frank Sinatra. Frank not only had the voice but what made Sinatra unique was the way he'd phrase the song. Levi had that same kind of talent; whatever he was singing he would phrase it so uniquely that you would just stand there in awe."
Stubbs last appearance with the Four Tops was at their 50th Anniversary Concert, held at Detroit's Opera House on July 28, 2004. He stopped performing altogether in 2000. Stubbs' passing leaves Abdul "Duke" Fakir as the only living member of The Four Tops' founding quartet, which signed to Motown in 1963.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff