Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever - The Four Tops, Hunter, Ivy
I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
Something About You
I Got a Feeling
I'm in a Different World
Walk Away Renee - The Four Tops, Brown, Michael [Key
What Is a Man? - The Four Tops, Bristol, Johnny
A Simple Game - The Four Tops, Pinder, Michael
Still Water (Love) - The Four Tops, Robinson, Smokey
(It's the Way) Nature Planned It - The Four Tops, Sawyer, Pam
It's All in the Game - The Four Tops, Dawes, Charles Gate
You Keep Running Away
If You Don't Want My Love
7-Rooms of Gloom
I'll Turn to Stone
Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)
Sad Souvenirs - The Four Tops, Hunter, Ivory Joe
Yesterday's Dreams - The Four Tops, Bullock, Vernon
Cramming 25 songs onto a single CD, this set captures the Tops during their peak 1960s years, when they rode the pens of Holland, Dozier, and Holland to the top of the charts. Combining the writers' pop melodies, a gentle ... more »Motown groove, and Levi Stubbs' earthy lead vocals, the group landed 11 Top 40 singles by 1967, all of which are included on this compilation. Unfortunately, The Ultimate Collection omits later gems such as "Keeper of the Castle," "Ain't No Woman," and "When She Was My Girl," but that leaves room to delve into the unique partnership between the Tops and their songwriting triumvirate. --Marc Greilsamer« less
Cramming 25 songs onto a single CD, this set captures the Tops during their peak 1960s years, when they rode the pens of Holland, Dozier, and Holland to the top of the charts. Combining the writers' pop melodies, a gentle Motown groove, and Levi Stubbs' earthy lead vocals, the group landed 11 Top 40 singles by 1967, all of which are included on this compilation. Unfortunately, The Ultimate Collection omits later gems such as "Keeper of the Castle," "Ain't No Woman," and "When She Was My Girl," but that leaves room to delve into the unique partnership between the Tops and their songwriting triumvirate. --Marc Greilsamer
All the great Motown hits but no longer the best collection
Paul Tognetti | Cranston, RI USA | 05/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Ultimate Collection , released by Polygram in 1997, contains all the great Motown hits of the Four Tops. The group, formed in Detroit in 1954 remained together for more than forty years until Lawrence Payton passed away in June 1997. Listen again to see what made the Four Tops a major part of the legendary Motown "Sound of Young America" in the mid 1960's. Enjoy again favorites like "Reach Out, I'll Be There", "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" and of course their signature song "I Can't Help Myself" from the golden year 1965. In addition, sample other big hits like "Standing In The Shadows of Love", and "Bernadette" as well as some of the lesser known chart hits like "7 Rooms of Gloom" and "Something About You". All in all, there are 25 tracks on this disc and a nice 12 page retrospective of the groups incredible career. But the hits began to dry up in the late sixties and the Four Tops departed Motown in 1972.
The group signed on with Dunhill records in 1972 and over the next 8 months had three Top 20 hits including "Keeper of the Castle" and "Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got)". But although the group would continue to maintain a very strenuous concert schedule, their chart appearances were much more intermittant after that. In 1981, they scored with "When She Was My Girl" from the motion picture "Grease 2". It was their biggest hit in years. Finally in 1988, they recorded their last charted single "Indestructable" which NBC Sports tapped for their 1988 Summer Olympics coverage.
Why am I telling you all of this? If you are a big fan of the Four Tops I suggest you skip this CD altogether and choose the recently released "Four Tops 50th Anniversary" CD now available from Hip-O records. The remastering job is considerably better and for just $2.00 more that 2 CD package gives you not only all the great Motown hits but all of the groups post 1971 hits on the other labels as well. It is really a better value."
Thomas Magnum | NJ, USA | 08/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Levi Stubbs has one of the most powerful voices in music history and it carries this superb compilation of their biggest Motown hits. All the well known songs like "Reach Out, I'll Be There", "I Can't Help Myself", "Standing In The Shadows Of Love", "Baby, I Need Your Loving" & "Bernadette" are here and they sound just as good hearing them for the 1,000th time as they were the first. The album has 25 songs and the pleasure lies in hearing some of the lesser known songs. "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" stands up against any other Tops song and maybe the prettiest they ever done. "7 Rooms Of Gloom" & "Ask The Lonely" are forgotten classics and they do a great version of the Left Banke hit "Walk Away Renee". Obviously when you whittle a large song catalog down to 25, there will be some omissions but if you're a Tops or Motown fan, this is set should be in your collection."
Nearly All The Hits
Laurence Upton | Wilts, UK | 01/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Concentrating on their singles career, this 25 track collection appeared on the Motown label in 1997 when it was licensed to Polygram, and covers the period from their first Motown single, Baby I Need Your Loving, up to 1972 when they first left the label (they were back between 1983 and 1986). Nearly all the Motown hit singles are present so it is easier to itemise what isn't: their cover of Tim Hardin's If I Were A Carpenter, a bigger hit here than in the US; Do What You Gotta Do, not a single in the US; Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me, not a single in the UK and only a minor hit in the US; Just Seven Numbers, and In These Changing Times, both only minor hits, extracted from the Changing Times album; Walk With Me Talk With Me Darling, not a single in the US; and their two-part version of MacArthur Park, a non-album single that wasn't even released in the UK and which one probably has to buy Anthology to get hold of on CD. It also includes 4 popular B-sides including their great original version of I Got A Feeling, better known in its cover by Barbara Randolph. Three of these were taken from albums but one, If You Don't Want My Love, was only ever the B-side of You Keep Running Way, perhaps making its debut on CD. Most of the songs were produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, with whom they had a string of huge hits, but a handful were produced by Mickey Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter, Johnny Bristol and others. It states in the liner notes that "The Ultimate Collections feature the original 45 rpm versions. Album sources are issued for reference purposes; the LP versions were very often different mixes, and sometimes different performances." What this means in practice is that all but 2 tracks - Still Water (Love) and (It's The Way) Nature Planned It - are mono versions which I suppose means that Motown hope to have us buy the parent albums as well to get the stereo mixes"
One of Motowns Best-Ever Groups!
Ian Phillips | Bolton, Lancashire, UK | 05/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Four Tops were formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1953 though they never really struck lucky until they signed to Berry Gordys pioneering all-black record label, Tamla Motown Records, home to many legendary soul acts including Diana Ross, The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves And The Vandellas, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Marvelettes and many, many more.
The Four Tops were just simply a KNOCKOUT! Lead singer Levi Stubbs rocketing vocal delivery was capable of such impressive, immense power and volume and were one of Motowns best male acts during the companys heyday in the swinging sixties.
The Four Tops, like Diana Ross and the Supremes, enjoyed an extensive and dynamic collaboration with the genius songwriting and production trio, Holland-Dozier-Holland. Holland-Dozier-Holland helped put Motown Records on the map by creating and defining that classic Motown sound of the 60's along with the legendary muscian team known as The Funk Brothers. The Four Tops enjoyed a river of classics through the duration of the 1960's with the most magical of these offerings recorded under the guidance of Holland-Dozier-Holland.
I Can't Help Myself, one of The Four Tops signature tunes, contained a hooky melody and lyrics that could appeal to both the spirited and the saccharine. Levi Stubbs inimitable and persuasive voice on this classic is just pure SOUL! I Can't Help Myself shot up the charts landing at No.1.
The follow up to I Can't Help Myself, the appropriately titled It's The Same Old Song admitedly lacked the initial immediacy of that track but still holds its own individual merits and became another classic to their credit.
In 1966 The Four Tops literally exploded onto the charts with the far more adventurous and highly ambitious Reach Out I'll Be There. Reach Out I'll Be There was haunting and atmospheric in its tone. Levi Stubbs puts in another phenomenal, breathtaking performance with his grittily earthy, soulful delivery seamlessly surfboarding along the tidal wave of musical arrangements that consists of flutes, oboes and tambourines. It also delivered The Four Tops their first real taste of big chart success in the U.K. In the U.S Reach Out I'll Be There became their second chart topper.
The Four Tops music was always dramatically orchestrated that lands somewhere between soul,r&b and pop. Their staggeringly impressive run of hits continued with the magnificent Standing In The Shadows Of Love where there diverse and unique blend of harmonies gel remarkably well together which adds to its dazzling, magical effect.
Bernadatte was yet another infectious classic with its masterpiece musical production and astounding delivery from Levi Stubbs but there is a far darker and more atmospheric mood on the chilly and haunting 7 Rooms Of Gloom. Stubbs' whips along the verses with utter conviction that's literally spine-tingling across the rollercoaster and stark musical arrangements.
Holland-Dozier-Holland swiftly left Motown Records in early 1968 after a bitter dispute over back royalty payments with Motown boss Berry Gordy (many of Motowns stars subsequently sued the company years later for claims of unpaid record royalties). The Motown sound was slowly dissolving after their departure and was virtually extinct by the early 70's following Motowns headquarters move from downtown Detroit to swinging L.A. As a result The Four Tops chart-action became erratic.
They did still manage to come up with some winners. Their divine, unique cover of The Left Bankes' Walk Away Renee, which is arguably far more effective than the origanal and mereley conveyed Levi Stubbs versatile vocal approach. Walk Away Renee commendably proved that Stubbs' unforgetable voice could be just as effective when working on ballads. Walk Away Renee may have been sombre in its tone though still had a touching quality.
Another excellent ballad from The Four Tops that emerged in the late 60's was another atmospheric number, Still Waters Run. This classic hit was a remarkably exhilirating masterpiece featuring an exuberant performance from Stubbs. Still Waters Run also captures Stubbs' at perharps his smoochiest.
It's All In The Game and If I Were A Carpenter both encapsulate that swinging Motown sound and both are of significant value to this collection. However by the early 70's their once unstoppable momentum was now sadly beginning to wear thin. The Four Tops fled from Motown Records in the early 70s and had a number of record deals that didn't amount to too much and gradually they faded from view (though enjoyed a few minor revivals in the 1980's).
To this day The Four Tops continue to sporadically perform on the customary golden oldies circuit but its their glorious, golden 1960's era for what they will always be remembered for. This compilation titled The Ultimate Collection guides you through these fabulous, ground-breaking classics and capture the group at their prime. The Four Tops - The Ultimate Collection is ESSENTIAL to any serious soul music collection!