Our Top 10 Four Tops songs looks back at one of the most successful and dearly loved musical groups in classic rock history. With a catalog of twenty four studio albums, fifty nine singles, multiple number one hits and dozens of top 40 singles, The Four Tops helped shape the soundtrack to so many lives growing up in the second half of the twentieth century. The linkage between Doo-Wop, Motown, Soul, Pop and Rock and Roll is clear to those who hear listen for it, those who hear it, and those who helped fuel it. The Four Tops stood at the crossroads of it all.
The origins of The Four Tops goes back to their high school days in the mid 1950s. The four members of the group originally called their quartet the Four Aims before changing the name eventually to the Four Tops when the quartet signed with Chess Records in 1956. Rock and roll history is filled with many classic groups that went through multiple lineup changes during their careers. The Four Tops were a unique exception to that. All four original members stayed together as a group during their forty year run from 1956 to 1997. The Four Tops were Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton.
In 1964, The Four Tops released their first single for Motown Records entitled “Baby I Need Your Lovin.” The songs was written by the Motown hit making songwriter team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland Jr. The song became a huge hit and helped launch the career of one of the most sucessfule Motown groups of all time. When one thinks of the classic Motown years, its groups like The Temptations, The Supremes, Smoky Robinson and the Miracles The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder and The Four Tops that first come to mind.
Our Top 10 Four Tops songs list presents the groups biggest hits Its as simple as that. Of course many will be left off the list because we are only picking ten, but we think this Four Tops songs list offers all the classics from the 60s and 70s that must be presented while also covering some later hits from the 80s.
# 10 – Indestructible
We open up our Four Tops songs with a track that is probably the least recognizable Four Tops song on this list. Nonetheless, “Indestructible,” is a great song. The song was released as a single in 1988. Its the last Four Tops song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s also a product of the times as the sounds of 1980s production techniques that were heavily drenched in keyboards surrounds the song’s arrangement. However, as always, its the vocals that dominate the song and almost forty years after they had first formed, the four original member’s vocals still sounded just as good as they did on all those classic Motown hits.
One of the most interesting and glorious aspects of the Four Tops long career is that all four original members stayed together. You have to be friends to do that, You have to get along. The “Indestructible,” video is a great showcase of that friendship. Their bond is very clear at the start for the video. Its looks very genuine…. just like their music.
# 9 – Are You Man Enough?
Continuing with our top 10 Four Tops songs we turn to a song that was included on the soundtrack to the motion picture Shaft In Africa. The song was also released on the Four Tops album Main Street People. An album that stands as one of their most underrated records of their career. The song “Are You Man Enough,” was released on ABC Records. It’s a powerful recording that drifted away from their usual sweeter sounding soulful melodies in similar fashion to what the Temptations did during their early 1970s period.
# 8 – When She Was My Girl
The Four Tops song “When She Was My Girl,” was released on the album Tonight! in 1981. The song was released as the album’s first single. It became a big hit for the group as it peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100. “When She Was My Girl,” would become the band’s last top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 of their career. The song also hit number one on the Billboard R&B Charts. Not many groups could claim to reach the Billboard top 20 in three consecutive decades. The Four Tops could.
# 7 – Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)
The classic Four Tops single “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)” was released in 1973 on ABC Records. The song would become the groups most successful non-Motown Records single. “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)” hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It would become the last single the band ever released that broke the Billboard Top 10. Interestingly, it was also the first Four Tops song to break the top 10 since they did it with “Bernadette” in 1967. The song had originally been recorded by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.
# 6 – Bernadette
And speaking of the single “Bernadette.” This great song remains one of those Four Tops songs that many people may have forgotten but as soon as they hear it, they say “Oh Yeah,” It’s just one of those great forgotten songs that stand as one of the reasons we compose these lists in order to revitalize those memories for some and introduce great music to others.
# 5 – Standing In The Shadows Of Love
As we enter the second half of this top 10 Four Tops songs, we present the band’s biggest hits of their career all from their classic Motown years. Up first is the great Four Tops song “Standing In The Shadows of Love.” The song was released in 1966. “Standing in the Shadows of Love” hit number six on the Billboard Hot 100. It hit number two on the Billboard R&B Charts. The song was written by the legendary songwriting team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland Jr.
# 4 – It’s the Same Old Song
The Four Tops song “It’s The Same Old Song,” stands as one of the band’s earliest hits. The song was released on the groups second album simply titled The Four Tops Second Album. The album was released in 1965. “It’s The Same Old Song,” was released as the album’s second single. The song became the band’s second top 10 hit peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland Jr. Some music fans and critics have argued that the Rolling Stones stole parts of the Four Tops song for their hit “Under My Thumb,” which was released a year later.
# 3 – Baby I Need Your Loving
The Four Tops single “Baby I Need Your Loving,” was the song that started it all for the band on their way to commercial success and legendary status .”Baby I Need Your Loving,” was the groups first major label single release on Motown Records. The song just missed breaking the Billboard Top 10 as it peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. It would become the groups first Gold Record.
# 2 – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)
The classic Four Tops single “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” was released on the group’s second album. It would become the Four Top’s first number one single as it hit Number one on both the Billboard Top 100 and the Billboard R&B Charts. This is one of the most addictive melodies and lyrics of the Motown era and a defining moment in 196s music. The lyric “Sugar pie, honey bunch,” became ingrained in pop culture. If “Baby I Need You Loving,” shined the light on the Four Tops, the single “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” became the light that shines all over Motown Records and the music that would follow.
# 1 – Reach Out I’ll Be There
We close out our Top 10 Four Tops songs list with a track that we believe was the greatest Four Tops song of all time. The song “Reach Out I’ll Be There” was released on the group’s fourth album entitled Reach Out. The album was released in 1967. The song “Reach Out I’ll Be There” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as number one on the Billboard R&B Charts. The song was written by the grand Motown songwriting team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland Jr.