If anybody can watch this video without tears flooding out of your eyes or by its end not completely breaking down when Levi hits that last high note. Then all I can say is you don’t have a heart beating within you.
From The Heart: The Four Tops – 50th Anniversary Concert (2004) Detroit, Michigan
When this aired in 2005 on PBS. An hour after the show ended I was still crying. And later that year in August I had the privilege to see the Four Tops at the Dearborn Homecoming. Though very bitter-sweet because just weeks earlier Obie Benson had died.
There was not an empty spot to be seen that Saturday night at that yearly Dearborn 3 day festival in 2005. I did manage to grab a seat within the first 5 rows. And I will never ever forget when they introduced and brought Levi onto that stage. The roar could be heard all the way to Downtown Detroit.
I along with thousands was yelling at the top of the lungs, We Love You Levi. He was in tears and he had thousands of us in tears with him.
You see this bred and born Detroiter had a favorite male Motown Group. Yes the Temptations had many many records I absolutely loved. Personally I thought Paul Williams was the Soul of the Temps. But with all their hits I still liked The Four Tops Better.
I thought Levi Stubbs pipes defined the entire Motown Sound. And I always proclaimed in my opinion that the Tops song, ” Baby I Need Your Loving ” was Motown’s National Anthem.
All I know is even though with Levi in the background and only Duke Fakir being the last original member on stage that night along with Lawrence ( Roquel ) Payton, Jr., Ronnie McNair & Theo Peoples. Just hearing and seeing The Four Tops was like a flashback to a better Detroit when Music & Voice came together to define what this city represented and known to every part of this world. It was ” Motown ” and it didn’t get any better. Thousands in that audience watched, witnessed and heard our History that night and we were in Heaven. It is what we all grew up to and those songs rang out epitome’s of our youths. With the Tops on stage we knew we were home. And with Levi still there with us we cried out of the pure joy he gave us all those years Detroit had The Four Tops.
Renaldo “Obie” Benson
Levi Stubbs left us on October 17, 2008.
Obie Benson on July 1, 2005
Lawrence Payton on June 20, 1997