One of America’s most influential musical groups and Motown legends, The Four Tops, will perform in Resorts Superstar Theater in Atlantic City tomorrow night, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m.
In addition to helping shape and define the Motown sound, The Four Tops have been recognized for their groundbreaking efforts with more than 20 Top 40 hits, their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and much, much more in a career that has spanned more than 50 years.
“We met in high school and, at that age, were out to impress the girls. So we decided to sing for them,” says Abdul “Duke” Fakir, one of the founding members of what would become the famous Four Tops explaining their beginnings in the early ’50s in Detroit.
“Levi (Stubbs) was a really good singer so we gave him little push to see what would happen. And there we were, singing our hearts out and falling into harmonic parts and our own little roles. That’s when we decided to form our own group and see what would happen,” Fakir continued.
Originally known as The Four Ames, they eventually changed their name to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with the then popular Ames Brothers.
In the beginning, he says, their thoughts were far from the enormous success they were to achieve. “We had no idea we would become as popular as we did and last this long. But I will say that once we really got together and started singing and eventually hit the stage as professionals, we realized this was exactly what we wanted to do with our lives. That was our wish.”
For the first 10 years of their career, Fakir says the group sang all kinds of songs. “We continued to be very versatile so we could entertain everyone on a universal level, audience of all colors, races, sizes and shapes.”
They were doing all that, as well as covers of other artists, and creating so many kinds of sounds that nobody really knew what to do with them — until Berry Gordy Jr. and Motown came along.
“Motown changed our lives,” Fakir says. “Our first record release, ‘Baby I Need Your Loving,’ just took our breath away. There was just such good production that everywhere we went the world loved us. All of a sudden, everywhere we went we’d hear our music. We’d be driving down the street with the car windows open and hear ourselves singing.”
And from that day in 1964 on, Fakir says it’s been the greatest life anyone could have. “And I’m not talking about money but about the love that surrounded us. It’s been absolutely amazing and I cherish each and every one of the moments I’ve had.”
Today, even though Fakir is the only surviving member of the original group, the existing Four Tops continue to make music audiences love. “But it was hard to continue performing when my first one passed away, when Lawrence Payton passed,” Fakir says. “At that time in my life none of us expected anyone to leave. We were shattered. We really did think about just giving up because we always thought we’d just be together. But after thinking about it more and more, we decided that of course Lawrence would still have wanted us to go on singing, and people would still enjoy our music without him here.”
And they were right. Today, the legend of The Four Tops continues. ”I think it all starts with the music — some of the best ever created,” Fakir insists. “But you know what? We’re just some hard working guys from Detroit. The audiences are the real stars because they pay their wages, they buy our records, they come to the concerts and get up on stage and dance. They show you love. And that’s really awesome.”
For times and ticket information, call (800) 745-3000.