The Four Tops (1) aka The Four Aims
The Four Tops (1) (Detroit)
aka The Four Aims
(The Doo wop years)
Abdul "Duke" Fakir
Renaldo "Obie" Benson
The Four Aims
1956 - If Only I Had Known / She Gave Me Love (Grady 012)
The Four Tops (1)
1956 - Could it be you / Kiss me baby (Chess 1623)
1956 - Woke Up This Morning (Chess) (Unreleased)
1956 - All my life (Chess) (Unreleased)
1956 - I'm My Baby's Sitter (Chess) (Unreleased)
1960 - Ain't That love / Lonely Summer (Columbia 41755)
1962 - Pennies from heaven / Where you are (Riverside 4534)
The Four Tops began life in 1953 (some accounts say 1954), when all of the members were attending Detroit-area high schools. Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir went to Pershing, and met Northern students Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton at a friend's birthday party, where the quartet members first sang together.
Sensing an immediate chemistry, they began rehearsing together and dubbed themselves the Four Aims. Payton's cousin Roquel Davis, a budding songwriter who sometimes sang with the group during its early days, helped them get an audition with Chess Records in 1956. Although Chess was more interested in Davis, who went on to become Berry Gordy's songwriting partner, they also signed the Four Aims, who became the Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers.
The Four Tops' lone Chess single, "Kiss Me Baby," was an unequivocal flop, and the group moved on to similarly brief stints at Red Top and Riverside. They signed with Columbia in 1960 and were steered in a more upscale supper-club direction, singing jazz and pop standards. This too failed to break them, although they did tour with Billy Eckstine during this period.
Kiss me baby I'm My Baby's Sitter
All my life Could it be you Woke Up This Morning
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