Otis Williams with The Temptations

The Four Tops and The Temptations Bring The Magic Of Motown To The UK

by geoffford

The Four Tops and The Temptations will be bringing the Magic of Motown to the UK with an 8-date tour in October and November, visiting Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. Special guests for most of the dates will be UK chart toppers Odyssey.

At the very heart of the Motown invasion of these shores, The Four Tops and The Temptations scored many hits through the sixties and seventies and were regulars on British TV with appearances on Top Of The Pops and other shows. Original members, Duke Fakir (Four Tops) and Otis Williams (Temptations) hold a special place in the hearts of British fans, and are delighted to be returning to the UK following their visit in 2018.

The Four Tops were among the first wave of Tamla Motown artists to make an impact in the UK with their infectious R&B and soul influenced brand of pop. The line-up of Levi Stubbs, Duke Fakir, Obie Benson and Lawrence Payton teamed up with the Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and production team to score a constant string of hits for over a decade.

Baby I Need Your Loving gave them a US hit with their first Motown release in 1964 and they scored their first US Number 1 the following year with I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch). This also gave them their first UK top ten hit. In 1966, they topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with Reach Out I’ll Be There. The Four Tops trademark sound of baritone lead vocals and lush harmonies was complemented, on stage, with slick and well-rehearsed dance routines, also giving them a strong visual identity.

The Magic of Motown

Standing In The Shadows Of Love, Bernadette, and Walk Away Renee are all timeless Four Tops’ classics that need little, or no, introduction and they enjoyed a revival of fortunes when Loco In Acapulco, from the film Buster, was a UK hit in 1988.  Four Tops founder member Duke Fakir is joined by Ronnie McNeir, Lawrence Payton Jr and Joseph Alex Morris, a truly fine vocalist with a commanding delivery, in the current line-up. The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and continue to tour regularly led by Duke Fakir, sole surviving member of the classic line-up.

In a Rolling Stone magazine article in 2004 Smokey Robinson remembered: “They were the best in my neighbourhood in Detroit when I was growing up (and) the Four Tops will always be one of the biggest and the best groups ever. Their music is forever.”

“We are thrilled to be coming back to the UK,” says Duke Fakir. “We always have such a great reception from our fans here, it always feels like home. It makes it so special to perform for the folks in Britain.”

The Temptations were contemporaries of The Four Tops, a five-piece line-up of Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, enjoying similar success to their counterparts.

Their first US Number 1, in 1965 was My Girl, which also gave The Temptations their first UK chart entry. Although only a minor hit in Britain the enduring timeless quality of this ballad has ensured that it remains one of Motown’s signature songs and has been covered by many artists in the ensuing years.

Musically, The Temptations then followed a different path to The Four Tops. Working closely with producer Norman Whitfield The Temptations pioneered progressive soul, a fusion of soul music with rock and jazz. This added a keen edge to their music as they looked to environmental and social issues for their subject matter: Runaway Child, Cloud Nine, I Can’t Get Next To You, Psychedelic Shack and Papa Was A Rolling Stone.

The Temptations continued to produce thought-provoking music for many years and now, with sole-survivor Otis Williams at the helm, still love to tour whilst taking great pride in their ground-breaking musical legacy.

Recipients of numerous awards and honours, The Temptations have won four Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll, Vocal Group and Rhythm and Blues Music Halls of Fame.The Temptations were named the #1 R&B/Hip Hop Artists of All Time and one of the 125 Greatest of All Time Artists by Billboard magazine and, by Rolling Stone magazine, one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

The Temptations are also the subject of a smash hit Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations  which won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography and negotiations are ongoing for the musical to come to London, The original Broadway cast album for Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations was recently nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Musical Theatre Album category.

“We want to thank our British fans for supporting and inspiring us over a half century.” says Otis Williams, founding member of the Temptations. “I’ve had such memorable trips to Britain dating as far back as the early 70’s, from meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury to recording our Live At London’s Talk Of The Town album.  As we mark our 60th anniversary in 2020, the Temptations want to pay special tribute to fans in the UK and worldwide. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating this special milestone.”

Odessey have now been confirmed as special guests on the November tour for all dates except Liverpool. Native New Yorker was a UK Top 5 hit for Odyssey in 1977 and the trio fronted by Lillian Lopez followed up with a string of UK hits in the eighties.

Following their initial UK success Odyssey returned to the UK charts with Use It Up And Wear It Out which spent two weeks at Number 1 in 1980. If You’re Looking For A Way Out, Going Back To My Roots and Inside Out were all Top 10 smashes on this side of the Atlantic. Steven Collazo joined his mother Lillian Lopez in the band and they continued performing across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Steven continues to lead Odyssey keeping the memory of his late mother very much alive.

The Four Tops and The Temptations 2020 tour dates are as follows:

Thursday 29 October Cardiff Motorpoint Arena BOOK TICKETS
Friday 30 October Nottingham Motorpoint Arena BOOK TICKETS
Sunday 1 November Manchester Arena BOOK TICKETS
Monday 2 November Liverpool M&S Bank Arena BOOK TICKETS
Tuesday 3 November Leeds First Direct Arena BOOK TICKETS
Wednesday 4 November Birmingham Arena BOOK TICKETS
Saturday 7 November Bournemouth International Centre BOOK TICKETS
Sunday 8 November London O2 Arena BOOK TICKETS