Friday, October 17, 2008

Levi Stubbs RIP

LEVI STUBBS
6/6/36-10/17/08

[Pictured above, second from the left.]
From Wikipedia: 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 The Four Tops.

Stubbs began his professional singing career with friends
Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton to form the Four Aims in 1954. Two years later, the group changed their name to the Four Tops. The group began as a supper-club act before finally signing to Motown Records in 1963; by the end of the decade, the Four Tops had over a dozen hits to their name. The most popular of the Four Tops 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),” and “Ain't No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got).”Although Stubbs was a natural baritone, most of the 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. Benson also died on July 1, 2005. Levi Stubbs passed away after a long illness on October 17, 2008.

As an
actor, he provided the voice of the carnivorous plant “Audrey II” in the movie version of the musical Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and the voice of Mother Brain in the animated TV series "Captain N: The Game Master" (1989). Stubbs has also guest starred in a number of TV shows as himself.

Stubbs and his wife Clineice were married from 1960 until his death, and had five children. In 1995, Stubbs was diagnosed with
cancer, and later, a stroke, and stopped touring. Since 2000, Theo Peoples has taken Stubbs' place as the lead singer of the Four Tops, with Ronnie McNeir taking the place that Payton originally held. Levi Stubbs died in his sleep on October 17, 2008 at his home in Detroit from his ailments. Abdul “Duke” Fakir is the only surviving member of The Four Tops original lineup.

Stubbs was a cousin of soul singer
Jackie Wilson. He also had a brother, Joe, who was a member of The Falcons, The Contours and The Originals, who died February 5 1998.

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