The Emperors of Soul. Recognizable to a man, this unique blend of voices and blade-sharp choreography (“The Temptation Walk”!) is one of the defining legacies of Motown Records. The group has thirty-seven Top 40 hits to their credit, including fifteen Top 10 tunes and a quartet which soared to No. 1. On the R&B charts? They have fifteen No. 1 singles, and seventeen No. 1 albums. The titles alone summon memories beyond measure: “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg," “I Wish It Would Rain,” “Cloud Nine,” “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” For always, the Temptations are sunshine on a cloudy day.
The Four Tops
One of the premier soul groups of all time, the Four Tops were a mainstay of the Motown sound. Levi Stubbs, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, and Lawrence Payton were boyhood friends in Detroit who gave it a go at a friend's birthday party in 1954 and found they were pretty good at it. As the Four Tops, they were unable to find a radio audience until they met up with Berry Gordy, Jr. and his hot Motown label. In 1964 Motown songwriting stars Holland, Dozier, and Holland came up with a song for the Tops called "Baby I Need Your Lovin'." Its charting in August went to number 11 Pop and R&B. Their first monster hit, "I Can't Help Myself" ("Sugar Pie Honey Bunch") was followed by "The Same Old Song," and hits like "Something About You," "Shake Me, Wake Me," "Bernadette," and “Walk Away Renee."