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Saturday, November 01, 2008

THE FOUR TOPS : Bernadette (1967)

R.I.P. Levi Stubbs (Jun. 6, 1936 - Oct. 17, 2008)
R.I.P. Earl Palmer (Oct. 25, 1924 - Sep. 19, 2008)

On Levi Stubbs:
Levi Stubbs, the lead singer with Motown band the Four Tops, has died at his home in Detroit. He was 72.
Stubbs died Friday after a battle with cancer and a stroke.
Stubbs was the powerful voice who drove Four Tops' hits such as Baby, I Need Your Loving, I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) and Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got.)
"He had one of the most prolific and identifiable voices in American history," Billy J. Wilson of the Motown Alumni Association said in an interview with Billboard. "It's a deep loss, to the entire Motown family and to the world."
On Earl Palmer:
Earl Palmer, the session drummer who provided the drums for such classics as Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” Smiley Lewis’s “I Hear You Knockin’,” Fats Domino’s “I’m Walkin,”‘ Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” Sam Cooke’s “Twistin’ the Night Away,” The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” and so many more, has died. He was 84. Palmer died Friday (Sept. 19) at his Los Angeles home after fighting a lengthy illness, his spokesman Kevin Sasaki said. Born in New Orleans in 1924 and later moving to Los Angeles, Palmer worked extensively in both cities, recording with some of the music world’s all-time greats on thousands of tracks.
Palmer left New Orleans for Hollywood in 1957. For more than 30 years, he was to play drums on the scores and soundtracks of many movies and television shows. His drum work was featured as well on a number of movie themes…like 1961’s Judgment at Nuremberg, Hud, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World…and popular television themes…including “I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Odd Couple,” “77 Sunset Strip,” and “The Brady Bunch.”
His career as a session drummer included work with Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Rick Nelson, Ray Charles, Eddie Cochran, Ritchie Valens, Bobby Day, Don and Dewey, Jan and Dean, Larry Williams, Gene McDaniels, Bobby Darin as well as jazz sessions with Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie, and appearing on blues recordings with B. B. King. Earl Palmer Trio pianist Ed Vodika said he met Palmer about 10 years ago and was asked to join the trio. The pianist said he spent the next five years playing weekly gigs in Los Angeles that attracted a host of big-name musicians, from Bonnie Raitt to Ringo Starr.

Two big losses here. Levi Stubbs was the lead vocalist to one of the greatest R&B groups, The Four Tops, who surprisingly had NO lineup changes while all the members were alive.
Earl Palmer was one of the most prolific session drummers of all time. So much so that it is almost impossible to tally all the songs he actually played on.
This track is a classic Four Tops tune, and I THINK the Palmer is playing on it. Motown rarely credited the musicians on their recordings at the time.

"Bernadette" is a 1967 hit song recorded by The Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown's main production team, Holland-Dozier-Holland, the song is one of the most well-known Motown tunes of the 1960s. Depicting a man's excessive desire for and jealousy over his girlfriend, the song reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was The Four Tops's final Top 10 hit of the 1960s. The song was also a request from one of the group members, who wanted it to be written for a young lady named Bernadette, whom he had met during his visits to the UK.

Song : "Bernadette" by The Four Tops
Single A-side (Motown), Feb. 16, 1967
Also on the LP "REACH OUT" (Motown) Jul. 1967

Levi Stubbs : lead vocals
Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, Lawrence Payton, and The Andantes : background vocals
The Funk Brothers : instrumentation

Get it here : Bernadette

1 comment:

Dana said...

Excellent choice! The vocals are so... heartfelt.