The Four Tops enjoyed a long career that began in 1956 before the Motown sound had been established, and they also were a tremendous part of the label's defining moments in the later 60s and early seventies. They further capitalized on their music and fame well into the 1990s. The Four Tops: Levi Stubbs, Lawrence Payton, Obie Benson, and Duke Fakir were R & B chartmasters with numerous hits among the eighty-five tracks in this four CD box set.
This set includes four chronologically arranged CD starting with Disc 1 that is mostly singles released from various labels including Chess, Columbia, Riverside, and Motown from 1956-1965. Familiar cuts include "Baby, I Need Your Loving", "Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)","It's The Same Old Song", and the then-standard "For Once In My Life". Cuts include previously unreleased songs, mixes and versions.
Disc 2 has all the chart toppers with hits like "Reach Out And I'll Be There", "Standing In The Shadows Of Love", "Bernadette", "Walk Away Renee", "If I Were A Carpenter", and "MacArthur Park". Unreleased gems include a new mix of "7 Rooms Of Gloom", "Oh I've Been Blessed", "Just Another Lonely Night", "I'll Pay Double", "So Far", and "Stranded On The Road Of Love". The height of their Motown popularity from 1966-1969 is represented splendidly on this disc with work from writers Ashford and Simpson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Webb, Barrett Strong, and others.
Disc 3 dates to work from the 1970-1973 era and includes the well known "It's All In The Game", a previously unreleased and unedited version of "Still Water (Peace)/Still Water (Love), and two duets with the Supremes "River Deep, Mountain High", and "I'm Glad About It". The platter contains work released in the United Kingdom on the Tamla Motown label, post-Motown releases oh the ABC/Dunhill label, along with "Are You Man Enough" from the movie soundtrack for Shaft In Africa (1973). Disc 4 provides work from 1974-1992 and features work from the Arista and Casablanca labels. It also contains collaborations with the Temptations (including a long medley of their hits), Aretha Franklin, and Grover Washington Jr.
This comprehensive collection contains a wonderful 84 page booklet bound into the casing. The booklet has premium photos, interviews with the surviving principals and producers, and full single and LP discographies. A well-researched retrospective of one of R & B's most enduring groups, Fourever is also a tribute to the group's monumental impact, not only on Motown Records, but also on the history of soul music itself. This box, in all its published splendor, is needed in any serious popular music collection.
Universal Music Enterprises; UMG Recordings, Inc.; 2220 Colorado Blvd.; Santa Monica, CA 90404
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