Four Tops - Second Album (Classic Album US 1965)

Kamis, 21 Februari 2013

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Four Tops' Second Album (also known as Second Album) is a 1965 R&B studio album by vocal quartet the Four Tops. The album, released on the Motown record label, reached #3 on Billboard's "Black Albums" chart and #20 on "Pop Albums". The album contained three hit singles. "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" reached #1 on both the "Black Singles" and "Pop Singles" charts, while "It's The Same Old Song" was #2 and #5 respectively, and "Something About You" reached #9 and #19.

The Four Tops followed their fine debut album with an even more magnificent second effort, The Four Tops' Second Album. They landed their first number one pop and R&B hit with "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)." There was also "Something About You," a great uptempo shouter that seemed a disappointment at number 19 on the pop charts (and number nine on the R&B charts), but didn't lack vocal authority or production genius. The album also contained "It's the Same Old Song," a tidy little number that reached number five on the pop chart and number two on the R&B chart, and had one of the greatest lyrical hooks -- and titles -- ever. 

(The) Four Tops are an American vocal quartet, whose repertoire has included doo-wop, jazz, soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, hard rock, and showtunes. Founded in Detroit, Michigan as The Four Aims, lead singer Levi Stubbs (born Levi Stubbles, a cousin of Jackie Wilson and brother of The Falcons' Joe Stubbs), and groupmates Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades, having gone from 1953 until 1997 without a single change in personnel.

Four Tops - UK EP 1966
Among a number of groups who helped define the Motown Sound of the 1960s, including The Miracles, The Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Temptations, and The Supremes, the Four Tops were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer; most groups of the time were fronted by a tenor. The group was the main male vocal group for the songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who crafted a stream of hit singles, including two Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits: "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and "Reach Out I'll Be There". After Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1967, the Four Tops were assigned to a number of producers, primarily Frank Wilson. 

When Motown left Detroit in 1972 to move to Los Angeles, California, the Tops stayed in Detroit and moved over to ABC Records' Dunhill imprint, where they continued to have charting singles into the late-1970s. Since the 1980s, the Four Tops have recorded for, at various times, Motown, Casablanca Records and Arista Records. Today, save for Indestructible (owned by Sony Music Entertainment), Universal Music Group controls the rights to their entire post-1963 catalog (through various mergers and acquisitions), as well as their 1956 single, "Could It Be You".

Four Tops - Netherlands Single 1965
All four members of the group began their careers together while they were high school students in Detroit. At the insistence of their friends, Pershing High students Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir performed with Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton from Northern High at a local birthday party. The quartet decided to remain together, and christened themselves The Four Aims. With the help of Payton's songwriter cousin Roquel Davis, The Aims signed to Chess Records in 1956, changing their name to Four Tops to avoid confusion with The Ames Brothers. Over the next seven years, The Tops endured unsuccessful tenures at Chess, Red Top, Riverside Records and Columbia Records. Without any hit records to their name, The Tops toured frequently, developing a polished stage presence and an experienced supper club act. In 1963, Berry Gordy, Jr., who had worked with Roquel Davis as a songwriter in the late-1950s, convinced The Tops to join the roster of his growing Motown record company.

During their early Motown years, the Four Tops recorded jazz standards for the company's Workshop label. In addition, they filled in time by singing backup on Motown singles such as The Supremes' "Run, Run, Run." The Tops also did backing vocals for Martha and the Vandellas on the 1966 hit "My Baby Loves Me".

Four Tops - US Single 1965
In 1964, Motown's main songwriting / production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland created a complete instrumental track without any idea of what to do with it. They decided to craft the song as a more mainstream pop song for the Four Tops, and proceeded to create "Baby I Need Your Loving" from the lyric-less instrumental track. Upon its mid-1964 release, "Baby I Need Your Loving" made it to #11 on the United States Billboard pop charts. However, the song proved to be much more popular on trend-setting radio stations in key U.S. markets; Baby I Need Your Loving was a strong top 10 hit on both WMCA in New York, and WKNR in Detroit—stations watched by radio people all over the country because these stations broke new artists and songs. After the single's success The Tops were pulled away from their jazz material and began recording more material in the vein of "Baby I Need Your Loving."

The first follow-up single, "Without the One You Love (Life's Not Worth While)", missed both the pop and R&B Top 40 charts by only three positions. "Ask the Lonely", released early in 1965, was a Top 30 pop hit and a Top Ten R&B hit, and the from there, the Tops' fortunes began to improve.

Tamla Motown Records 1965
After scoring their first #1 hit, the often-recorded and revived "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" in June 1965, the Four Tops began a long series of successful hit singles. Among the first wave of these hits were the Top 10 "It's the Same Old Song", "Something About You", "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)", and "Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever". Four Tops records often represented the epitome of the Motown Sound: simple distinctive melodies and rhymes, call-and-response lyrics, and the musical contributions of The Funk Brothers. Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote most of Levi Stubbs' vocals in a tenor range, near the top of his range, in order to get a sense of strained urgency in his gospel preacher-inspired leads. In addition, H-D-H used additional background vocals from female background vocalists The Andantes on many of these songs, to add a high end to the low-voiced harmony of The Tops, with "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" being one of the few exceptions .....

August 1966 brought the release of the Four Tops' all-time biggest hit, and one of the most popular Motown songs ever: "Reach Out I'll Be There", which hit #1 on the U.S. pop charts and soon became The Tops' signature song. It was almost immediately followed by the similar sounding "Standing in the Shadows of Love"; its depictions of heartbreak reflected the polar opposite of the optimism expressed in "Reach Out". It was another Top 10 hit for the Tops.

Four Tops - Netherlands Single 1965
The Top 10 U.S. hit "Bernadette" centered around a man's all-consuming obsession with his lover, continued the Four Tops' successful run into April 1967, followed by the Top 20 hits "7-Rooms of Gloom", and "You Keep Running Away". By now, The Tops were the most successful male Motown act in the United Kingdom (in the United States, they were second to The Temptations), and began experimenting with more mainstream pop hits. They scored hits with their versions of Tim Hardin's "If I Were A Carpenter" in late 1967 (mid-1968 in the U.S.) and the Left Banke's "Walk Away Renée" in early 1968. These singles and the original "I'm In a Different World" were their last hits produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, who left Motown in 1967 after disputes with Berry Gordy over royalties and ownership of company shares.

Without Holland-Dozier-Holland, the quality of the Four Tops' output, like that of most of Motown, began to decline, and hits became less frequent. The group worked with a wide array of Motown producers during the late 1960s, including Ivy Hunter, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, Norman Whitfield and Johnny Bristol, without significant chart success.

Their first major hit in a long time came in the form of 1970's "It's All in the Game", a pop Top 30/R&B Top Ten hit produced by Frank Wilson. Wilson and the Tops began working on a number of innovative tracks and albums together, echoing Whitfield's psychedelic soul work with The Temptations. Their 1970 album Still Waters Run Deep was an early ancestor to the concept album. It also served as an inspiration for Marvin Gaye's 1971 classic album What's Going On, the title track of which was co-written by the Tops' Obie Benson.

In addition to their own albums, the Tops were paired with The Supremes, who had just replaced lead singer Diana Ross with Jean Terrell, for a series of albums billed under the joint title The Magnificent Seven: The Magnificent Seven in 1970, and The Return of the Magnificent Seven and Dynamite! in 1971. While the albums themselves did not do well on the charts, The Magnificent Seven featured a Top 20 version of Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep - Mountain High", produced by Ashford & Simpson.

The 1971 single "A Simple Game" featured backing vocals from members of The Moody Blues. The song did not fare well on the U.S. charts, but reached number three on the UK charts. [Wikipedia]

01. "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" – 2:45 
02. "Love Feels Like Fire" – 2:08 
03. "Is There Anything That I Can Do" (Warren "Pete" Moore, Smokey Robinson, Ronald White) – 3:07 
04. "Something About You" – 2:44 
05. "It's the Same Old Song" – 2:51 
06. "Helpless" – 2:46 
07. "Just as Long as You Need Me" – 3:12 
08. "Darling, I Hum Our Song" – 2:44 
09. "I Like Everything About You" – 2:21 
10. "Since You've Been Gone" – 2:33 
11. "Stay in My Lonely Arms" – 2:21 
12. "I'm Grateful" (Leo Drake, George Fowler, Eddie Holland) – 2:37

13. "Could it Be You" - 3:20 (1956)
14. "Ain't That Love" - 2:29 (1960)
15. "Pennies From Heaven" - 2:30 (1962)

1. Link
2. Link
Tamla Motown Records 1963

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