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R.I.P. Levi Stubbs

17 October 2008 7 Comments

Levi Stubbs, lead singer of the Four Tops, passed away today at age 72. His health had been deteriorating for years after enduring both cancer and stroke. The Four Tops as a group was indisputably trailblazing and Levi Stubbs was iconic as a showman. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know at least one Four Tops song by heart considering they had a whopping twenty Top 40 hits in their ten years at Motown.

My favorite thing about Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops, however, were the Temptations/ Four Tops feuds. I posted a clip of one of these famous coon-offs a while ago, please check out my orginal commentary about it through the link and study the video below as I consider it required viewing for all black folks.

A leser-known fact about Levi Stubbs is that he voiced Audrey II in one of my favorite movies, Little Shop of Horrors. He was so perfect for this role and really brought that weirdo plant to life. Check out this clip of “Feed Me,” a musical number from a soundtrack that I actually own and play. Wasn’t no shame in Levi’s game and ain’t no shame in mine. He will be missed.


  • Undercover Black Man said:

    Love that Battle of the Groups, Thembi. That was truly the golden age of the colored race!

  • Invisible Woman said:

    Did not know he was Audrey…he really put on the “black voive’ for that eh?

    I’m in the Bay right now, and saw that the 4 Tos Show was cancelled at the Paramount. I thought it may be low ticket sales…mow I know why. Sad.

  • jazzfan360 said:

    “How ’bout that Au-u-u-u-u-udrey???” HA!!!! I effin love that movie. Levi was SO fantastic. To voice that plant, such a powerful character among a cast of living, breathing, moving, three-dimensional actors, requires a performance of tremendous personality and bigger-than-life talent. I’ve seen BAD productions of Little Shop. The whole thing revolves around the plant, and if it’s not up to snuff, the whole thing fails. He did an amazing job. And got the honor of performing solo at the Oscars when “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space” was nominated for Best Song lol.

    I’m so sad to hear that he’s no longer with us. He was really, really, REALLY one of the greats. Man. Yeah, that’s sad for real. Thank you for the news.

  • Invisible Woman said:

    wow, just reread my comment-sorry for all the typos–i must have been half asleep!

  • Phi Sister said:

    I LOVE THAT MOVIE. So sad… I was looking him up on imdb.com just two weeks ago. One of the most distinctive voices of all time.

  • Hey Shae! said:

    Awww, may he RIP. Their battles made for great entertainment. Also, I had no idea he was Audrey.

    PS- Please stop by, I have something for you. :-)

  • Malcolm said:

    Even though I knew Levi Stubbs had been ill for some time, I was still a bit deflated when I found out about his death. That battle of the groups clip brings back memories. I used to love those Motown/Apollo TV specials. When The Cadillacs came out, I was like, “Hell yeah!” Old Speedo was a bad dude!

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