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Levi Stubbs

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Damn. Another piece of my youth lost. Alright, lets play Levi home.





ETA: I'm a little late on the draw. Dr. J. already posted the studio version of "Reach Out." Mine is live.

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In 1982, I began university in London and a friend, John went to Southampton. About two weeks into our first term, he called me to tell me that he had tickets to see The Four Tops at Southampton Gaumount where they were to be supported by Fat Larry's Band (Zoom, remember that?)


Before the gig, as we always used to do, we hung around the venue in hopes of topping up our autograph collection, which to that point, comprised signatures from Julian Cope, Joe Strummer and one of The Fabulous Poodles. As we were about to give up hope, the band's tour bus arrived and we began talking to each of the members. Three were not particularly forthcoming, but one of them, Levi Stubbs was taken with the notion that two eighteen year olds might be interested in their music and invited us to the band's dressing room where we sat for a beer or two.


We left to go to the auditorium, which was sparsely populated by a middle aged crowd more interested in their scampi in a basket than the music. Despite that, The Four Tops gave it everything they had and worked their way through a procession of hits until they got to "Standing in The Shadows of Love" and which point, Levi Stubbs announced "This is for my brothers John and Simon"


One of the most memorable moments of my life



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It was a different world then. The acts could actually sing. They might have sounded great in the studio but that's because they were great live bands.


Here's Levi leading the Tops on American TV. The arrangement is prerecorded - the singing is not. God, these guys were great.




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I remember dancing to their music in England in the mid 60's. Didn't Reach Out get into the English top 40? Because when I hear it, I have flashbacks to the really cold and dark common room at the boarding school.

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