Saturday, October 18, 2008

Levi Stubbs (1936 - 2008)

Several days ago out of nowhere, The Four Tops', Reach Out I'll Be There popped into my head, particularly the intro. I wasn't even conscious of it being a Four Tops song or part of Levi Stubbs' repertoire. I was simply listening to the singing in my head and marveling at the passionate delivery of that first verse. Wow, I thought, he was really shouting that out, in perfect pitch. I wondered how he managed that in the recording studio. Recording studios are kind of dry, boring-looking places--built for sound, not atmospheric aesthetics. This guy sang that into a mic in an airless room and it he sounds all kinds of amazing.

A couple days later, Keith looked up from the computer and said, "Oh man, Levi Stubbs died."

"Who's that?" I asked (stupidly).

"Levi Stubbs--The Four Tops--I'll Be There...?" Keith is my go-to guy for all the facts, all the time.

"Oh my gosh," I said. I just thought of that song in the parking lot of Trader Joe's a couple of days ago. It just started playing in my head and I was admiring his singing, which I've never fully appreciated before."

So who knows how music connects us, sometimes in mysterious ways? Thanks for wonderful music, Four Tops.

I'll Turn to Stone - They're having a blast. Great clip.

I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)

Reach Out I'll Be There

Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs' Tears

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