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Levi Stubbs

Background information
Birth name Levi Stubbles
Born June 6, 1936(1936-06-06)
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died October 17, 2008 (aged 72)
Genres R&B/soul
Occupations Singer, actor
Years active 1954–2008
Labels Motown
Associated acts The Four Tops

Levi Stubbles (June 6, 1936 – October 17, 2008), better known by the stage name Levi Stubbs, was an American baritone singer, best known as the lead vocalist of the Motown R&B group Four Tops.

Contents

Career

Born in Detroit in 1936, Levi Stubbs began his professional singing career with friends Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton, forming a singing group called The Four Aims in 1954.[1] Two years later, after having signed with Chess Records, the group changed their name to the Four Tops. The name change was meant to avoid confusion with the then-popular Ames Brothers.[1] The Four Tops began as a supper-club act before signing to Motown Records in 1963. By the end of the decade, the Four Tops had over a dozen hits. The most popular of their hits (all of which featured Stubbs on lead vocals) include "Baby I Need Your Loving", "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)", "It's the Same Old Song", "Reach Out I'll Be There", "Standing in the Shadows of Love", "Bernadette", "Still Water (Love)", "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)" as well as the late hit "Loco In Acapulco".

Although Stubbs was a natural baritone, most Four Tops' hits were written in a tenor range to give the lead vocals a sense of urgency. Stubbs and the other Tops remained a team until Payton died in 1997, at which point Theo Peoples took his place. The Four Tops were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and have sold over 50 million records worldwide.[1] In 2000, Theo Peoples replaced Stubbs as lead singer, with Ronnie McNeir taking the place that Payton originally held. Duke Fakir is now the only surviving member of The Four Tops' original lineup. Benson died on July 1, 2005.

Although not an actor, Levi Stubbs provided the voice of the carnivorous plant Audrey II in the 1986 movie version of the musical Little Shop of Horrors to much acclaim from fans of the film, and the voice of Mother Brain in the animated TV series Captain N: The Game Master (1989).[2] Stubbs also guest starred in a number of TV shows as himself.

The Billy Bragg album Talking with the Taxman about Poetry includes a song titled, "Levi Stubbs' Tears".

Personal life

Levi Stubbs and his wife Clineice were married from 1960 until his death, and had five children. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1995, and later, after a stroke, he was no longer able to tour with the group. Stubbs died in his sleep on October 17, 2008 at his home in Southfield, Michigan, north of Detroit.[3] Like the majority of Detroit celebrities, Stubbs is interred at Detroit's historic Woodlawn Cemetery across from the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

His brother, Joe Stubbs, was a member of 100 Proof Aged In Soul, The Falcons, The Contours and The Originals, and one of his cousins was Jackie Wilson.[4]

References

External links

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