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  1. #1

    "What If's" with The Four Tops

    Inspired by a What If thread with The Temptations, let's do a What If with The Four Tops. Songs from their first stint at Motown (1963 thru 1972) that were B-sides, album cuts or previously unreleased that (in our humble opinions) had the potential to be hits. My Picks:

    "Helpless"
    "Since You've Been Gone"
    "Left With A Broken Heart"
    "My Heart Is Calling You"
    "Your Love Is Wonderful"
    "Rocks In My Bed"
    "Deep In The Pit Of Your Love"
    "Starving For Your Love"
    "I Wish I Was Your Mirror"
    "What You Gonna Do With Me Baby"

  2. #2
    Helpless and Your Love Is Wonderful.

  3. #3
    Three of the biggest hits/requests I get for the Tops (every week on the radio/stream for years) are still - by long and far over the usual hits are:

    I've Got A Feeling
    I'll Turn To Stone
    and
    Something About You

  4. #4


    Just A Little Love (Before My Life Is Gone) - Hunter/Stevenson, is my favorite unreleased track by the Tops. It's criminal that it sat in the vault all those years. Marvin Gaye and Chuck Jackson both did a version, but the Tops nail this one. It reminds me a bit of Baby I Need Your Loving. Levi's delivery is perfect.

  5. #5
    Since You've Been Gone
    When I'm With You - with the Supremes

  6. #6
    SatinsBlues said, "Just A Little Love (Before My Life Is Gone) - Hunter/Stevenson, is my favorite unreleased track by the Tops. It's criminal that it sat in the vault all those years. Marvin Gaye and Chuck Jackson both did a version, but the Tops nail this one. It reminds me a bit of Baby I Need Your Loving. Levi's delivery is perfect."[/QUOTE]

    Ah, I agree that this is one of those that 'got away' being that it stayed in the vaults so long. The song itself is beautiful and so poignant, and Levi's delivery on the lead vocals is so pleading in a very subtle way. I love that the verses begin where he gets to show the warmness of his lower register. My only gripe about this output was that the Andantes background vocals, in the mix, were way too loud and somewhat disruptive to the flow of the song.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tjl View Post
    Three of the biggest hits/requests I get for the Tops (every week on the radio/stream for years) are still - by long and far over the usual hits are:

    I've Got A Feeling
    I'll Turn To Stone
    and
    Something About You

    "I'll Turn to Stone" should have been an A-side single. It is one of their very best recordings in my opinion.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by tjl View Post
    Three of the biggest hits/requests I get for the Tops (every week on the radio/stream for years) are still - by long and far over the usual hits are:

    I've Got A Feeling
    I'll Turn To Stone
    and
    Something About You
    I would agree with these three, especially I Got A Feeling, which I consider to be one of Motown's finest recordings by ANYBODY.

  9. #9
    [your love is amazing] is a killer that shoulda been an a-side.

  10. #10
    I love "So Far" from 1969 (I think) but it wasn’t even released at all at the time!

  11. #11
    Motown Eddie, I would have to say "I Got A Feeling" and "Your Love Is Wonderful". Every time I hear those records, I can't help thinking, "Damn, Motown was good!"

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post


    Just A Little Love (Before My Life Is Gone) - Hunter/Stevenson, is my favorite unreleased track by the Tops. It's criminal that it sat in the vault all those years. Marvin Gaye and Chuck Jackson both did a version, but the Tops nail this one. It reminds me a bit of Baby I Need Your Loving. Levi's delivery is perfect.
    I couldn’t agree more. It could have been the twelfth cut on the first album.

    I also think “Stranded On The Road Of Love” would have also been a contender had it been released. As far as released material goes, “I Can’t Quit Your Love” might’ve fair better with a different mix.

  13. #13
    For me, it's got to be the unreleased-at-the-time "Lonely Lover", especially the stereo version. Pure Motown magic.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jboy88 View Post
    “I Can’t Quit Your Love” might’ve fair better with a different mix.
    Agreed and I feel it needed to be slightly faster as at times it seems to drag along a bit. It could have been the Four Tops "Stoned Love" easily and taken to the high places on the charts.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    "I'll Turn to Stone" should have been an A-side single. It is one of their very best recordings in my opinion.
    "I would be like a statue in a park
    Cold and alone a man without a heart"

    Marv, I totally agree!!

  16. #16
    NO TIME is a killer track. Absolutely phenomenal. Yet Motown did it's typical let's not release a great song. I'M SO AFRAID OF LOSING YOU, WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE, BABY DUMPLING etc are also masterpieces.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by lockhartgary View Post
    "I would be like a statue in a park
    Cold and alone a man without a heart"

    Marv, I totally agree!!
    Lockhartgary, that line in the song. It took me all of these years to really appreciate the greatness of Holland-Dozier-Holland and their work with the Four Tops. That is just the greatest line ever!

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    "I'll Turn to Stone" should have been an A-side single. It is one of their very best recordings in my opinion.
    You're right Marv2. Not only did "I'll Turn To Stone" chart on it's own as the B-side of "7 Rooms Of Gloom" (R&B#50/Pop#76), it inspired The Foundations' hit "Build Me Up Buttercup".

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    For me, it's got to be the unreleased-at-the-time "Lonely Lover", especially the stereo version. Pure Motown magic.
    Has anyone else actually heard "Lonely Lover" or love it as much as I do? No one else ever seems to comment whenever I mention it.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    Has anyone else actually heard "Lonely Lover" or love it as much as I do? No one else ever seems to comment whenever I mention it.
    I have not heard it. I have to try to find it. Thanks.

  21. #21

  22. #22
    ^^^ Thanks for posting, Lockhartgary.

    The original version of HDH's "Lonely Lover" by Marvin Gaye is also worth a play, with or without the 1986 overdubs.

  23. #23
    Strangely, there's another unreleased HDH Tops' track, formerly recorded by Marvin Gaye, namely "Gotta Say It, Gonna Tell It Like It Is".

  24. #24
    Because of its lyrical content, the BBC wouldn't allow Tony Blackburn to get behind "Barbara's Boy" when he played it as an album track. If they had, it would have been a massive UK hit.

  25. #25
    Two more good ones are-it would almost drive me out of my mind...and the super groove[body and soul].

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    Because of its lyrical content, the BBC wouldn't allow Tony Blackburn to get behind "Barbara's Boy" when he played it as an album track. If they had, it would have been a massive UK hit.
    Screw the BBC. Doing that makes them scumbags.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    Has anyone else actually heard "Lonely Lover" or love it as much as I do? No one else ever seems to comment whenever I mention it.
    I absolutely love that song. Another should've been hit but thanks to Motown it wasn't.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    Because of its lyrical content, the BBC wouldn't allow Tony Blackburn to get behind "Barbara's Boy" when he played it as an album track. If they had, it would have been a massive UK hit.
    What was the objectionable lyric(s) in that song?

  29. #29
    FOUR TOPS - BARBARA'S BOY
    (J. Hinton; P. Sawyer)
    Tamla Motown 006-91154

    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)
    If he's mine I don't know
    How could any man ever really know?
    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)
    But I love him so

    I was so proud to be the father of the son
    We wanted desperately
    I wanted the whole wide world to see the son
    Barbara gave to me

    I said: "Those eyes, don't they just look like mine?"
    And then I heard that rumour one more time
    I couldn't ignore the spiteful tongues
    That made me doubt: is he really my son?

    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)
    If he's mine I don't know
    How could any man ever really know?
    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)
    But I love him so

    I heard that she was me biding my time
    With this other guy
    I cannot believe that Barbara would cheat on me
    She wasn't one to lie

    She said: "I love him, 'cause he's poorer than you"
    How could she say it if it isn't true?
    I end up feeling like the guilty one
    When she says: "Darling, do you love your son?"

    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)
    If he's mine I don't know
    How could any man ever really know?
    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)
    But I love him so

    Since my good times were stopped
    Blaming her, charging her
    And then we'll see that I
    Content to be loving her

    I would never accuse that girl
    I couldn't live if I should lose that girl
    Let the gossips have their say
    Wildly talk will never come in your way, but

    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)
    If he's mine I don't know
    How could any man ever really know?
    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)
    But I love him so

    (Barbara's boy is Barbara's boy)



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