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Essential Collection

4.7 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Essential because along with the Motown hits you get on every Tops anthology, you also get their hits from the Dunhill, ABC and Casablanca labels, 19 years (1964-1983) of some of the greatest soul ever waxed! Includes Baby, I Need Your Loving; I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch); Reach Out I'll Be There; When She Was My Girl; Are You Man Enough; Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got); It's All in the Game; Standing in the Shadows of Love; It's the Same Old Song; Bernadette , and more. 24 Top 40 R&B hits!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 7, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: November 7, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hip-O
  • ASIN: B000050I1X
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,341 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's The Four Tops Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Zub VINE VOICE on August 3, 2001
Format: Audio CD
If you're going to limit yourself to one single-disc CD of the Four Tops, this should be near the top of your shopping list. It contains most of the important and best-known singles spanning the entire career of this exceptional group out of Motown. While their music style evolved over the years and even as they switched label companies and styles, their music was always consistently exceptional. The fact that they had no personnel changes in their entire recording career, an almost unheard of accomplishment, was a big factor in their musical continuity.

While there is a slight emphasis on their later post-Motown output, the selection of the 24 tracks chosen here is pretty close to optimum. The only omission that keeps this CD from being the ultimate career retrospective is the pre-Motown "Ain't That Love" track. Credit to Hip-O though for the inclusion of the hypnotic ballad "I Believe In You And Me", a track that, though originally only the b-side of a lesser single, has become a classic Four Tops tune.

Sound quality is very good with many of the early Motown singles appearing in the mono versions that are more true to the sound of the Tops on AM radio. Tracks 1-10 and 13 are in mono with the remainder in stereo. Included is a 16-page booklet with about half devoted to a musical history of the group and the remainder being track info, credits and pictures.

Here we find a top-notch product that does justice to this phenomenal music group deserving of consideration by the fan considering adding a Tops' compilation CD to their library.
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Format: Audio CD
This disc lives up to its name with major representation from all of the labels that the Four Tops recorded for from 1963 through 1983. Motown of course is where they recorded the bulk of their hits and that tenure is represented on the first 14 recordings. The leadoff track - 1964's "Baby I Need your Loving" - was the Tops' first collaboration with the songwriting-production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. It established a winning formula: lyrics that entail Levi yearning for or proclaiming his love for a girl he has lost or can't have; pulsating music cut in a (high) key out of Stubbs' regular vocal range, the subsequent strain causing his pleas to sound even more dramatic; background vocals with a full, almost Spectorian resonance, thanks to the addition of Motown's resident session singers, the Andantes.
After a mediocre "Baby I Need Your Loving" soundalike "Without The One You Love" (not included here) stiffed, the Tops rebounded in 1965 with the majestic ballad "Ask The Lonely," their first number one smash "I Can't Help Myself" and "It's The Same Old Song" (and truly the latter was, a melodic retread of "I Can't Help Myself"). They reached their commercial peak in late 1966 to early 1967 with the powerful "Reach Out ("I'll Be There)," "Standing In The Shadows Of Love," and "Bernadette." In late 1967, however, Holland-Dozier-Holland abruptly left Motown in a dispute over financial compensation. This prompted the label to release year-old remakes of "Walk Away Renee" and "If I Were A Carpenter" as follow-up Tops' singles. They are proof that the Tops could make a hit out of practically anything.
In 1968 and 1969, other Motown writer-producers like Ivy Jo Hunter, Johnny Bristol, and Norman Whitfield attempted to fill the void left by Holland-Dozier-Holland's exit.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
The Four Tops began in 1953 in Detroit, Michigan, where Stubbs, Benson, Fakir and Payton were born and raised, when they were called "The Four Aims", while still attending high school. The group worked as opening acts with Brook Benton, Della Reese, Billy Eckstine and the band of Count Basie, by that time they had changed their name to "The Four Tops".
Recorded for several labels before Motown Records in 1963, after signing with them a year later had their first hit "BABY, I NEED YOUR LOVING", reached No. #11 on the Pop Charts in July 1964. Big tune for them was Stubbs singing "ASK THE LONELY", was No.#9 on the R&B Charts, and No.#24 on Pop Charts...recorded for Dunhill in '73 reached No.#2 R&B Charts & No.#4 Pop Charts "AIN'T NO WOMAN LIKE THE ONE I'VE GOT"...and "KEEPER OF THE CASTLE" was No.#7 on R&B Charts & No.#10 on Pop Charts, wonderful hits by this legendary group of artists.
Hip-O Records hats off to you for one of the most familiar and enthralling releases - "Four Tops - Essential Collection", simply as good as it gets...melody, lyric and interpretation launched some of the most enduring songs ever made!
Total Time: 76:15 on 24 Tracks...Hip-O Records 314 560 824...(2000)
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By A Customer on November 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Wow! These are the original recordings, and they have never sounded better. This generous CD (24 songs) contains the Motown classics you would expect, plus the big hits this magnificent group went on to record over the next ten years for Dunhill, ABC and Casablanca. The post-Motown years yielded 9 more Top Ten R&B hits, and they're all here. This CD does the best job yet of displaying the Four Tops entire career on 1 truly essential disc. Enjoy.
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