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  1. #1

    The Four Tops Pre-Motown "A Lonely Summer" (1960)

    Here's a rare one that the Tops did for Columbia Records back in 1960. You don't hear this one often I am sure. Here are the Four Tops "A Lonely Summer":

  2. #2
    Sounds as if columbia was in it's[johnny mathis]mood with this one sounds like a tune he turned down listen to the intro,sounds similar to[chances are]a good thing motown rescued the tops because that tune is a b-side at best!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by arrr&bee View Post
    Sounds as if columbia was in it's[johnny mathis]mood with this one sounds like a tune he turned down listen to the intro,sounds similar to[chances are]a good thing motown rescued the tops because that tune is a b-side at best!

    You're right. It does sound like a Johnny Mathis type song. (But.the piano intro is not Chances Are, its It's Not For Me To Say)

    Was curious to know if Ray Coniff produced it too, but the Four Tops label says produced by John Hammond. Did not even know they ever recorded for Columbia. Glad they moved to Motown.
    Last edited by milven; 08-23-2010 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Cause I Never Get It Right The First Time

  4. #4
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    The label just says produced by John Hammond. There is no listing of the arranger. The arranger was likely the orchestra leader. The arranger very likely could have been Ray Coniff.

    The Four Tops had two singles out on Chess Records in 1957-58, and this Columbia single out in 1960, as well as a single on Riverside Records (NY Jazz label) in 1962, before joining Motown in 1963. "Pennies From Heaven" on Riverside, sounds much closer to their Motown work than their Columbia cuts.

    Here are their pre-Motown records:

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    Last edited by robb_k; 08-23-2010 at 01:25 PM.

  5. #5
    Interesting to see Levi listed as writer and producer on that second 7" single!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
    The label just says produced by John Hammond. There is no listing of the arranger. The arranger was likely the orchestra leader. The arranger very likely could have been Ray Coniff.
    You are right Robb. It very well could have been Coniff.

    I know of the Tops Chess history, but I never knew that they were momentarily on Columbia

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by workshop_jazz View Post
    Interesting to see Levi listed as writer and producer on that second 7" single!
    John Hammond was the producer. Maybe you meant "writer and publisher"? Yes, it's very interesting that in getting a contract with gigantic major, Columbia Records, they allowed Levi to publish the music himself (Levi Stubbs Music). Usually, they want those rights as payment for spending money on the recording session and pressing up and distributing the records.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    John Hammond was the producer. Maybe you meant "writer and publisher"? Yes, it's very interesting that in getting a contract with gigantic major, Columbia Records, they allowed Levi to publish the music himself (Levi Stubbs Music). Usually, they want those rights as payment for spending money on the recording session and pressing up and distributing the records.
    Yes, I meant publisher. I blame the lack of coffee. =)

    Interesting that there's no mention of this tune on Levi's page on BMI. Must be rare as hen's teeth.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by workshop_jazz View Post
    Yes, I meant publisher. I blame the lack of coffee. =)

    Interesting that there's no mention of this tune on Levi's page on BMI. Must be rare as hen's teeth.
    There are thousands of original publishers that don't show up on BMI or ASCAP anymore. If their rights aren't renewed, or they sell their publishing rights to another publisher, their names come off the books. Ive looked up over a thousand publishers from my records that don't show up on BMI's or ASCAP's lists anymore. Levi probably only published a couple of songs on his own, and sold those rights long ago, or just didn't feel like renewing his rights when it was clear that no one was interested in using those songs.

  10. #10
    That's very interesting - I always thought once a work had been registered, it was meant to stay listed there forever (as is meant to be the case in the UK), regardless of whether the publisher goes out of business or anyone bothers to renew etc, and that any gaps in the BMI and ASCAP online databases were due to data not being entered or something. Interesting to discover that the ASCAP and BMI databases aren't comprehensive between them anyway! I thought that was probably too useful to be the case.

    Great to see those early Tops label scans, thank you!

  11. #11
    Thanks milven i stand corrected but you know what i mean!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by radionixon View Post
    That's very interesting - I always thought once a work had been registered, it was meant to stay listed there forever (as is meant to be the case in the UK), regardless of whether the publisher goes out of business or anyone bothers to renew etc, and that any gaps in the BMI and ASCAP online databases were due to data not being entered or something. Interesting to discover that the ASCAP and BMI databases aren't comprehensive between them anyway! I thought that was probably too useful to be the case.

    Great to see those early Tops label scans, thank you!
    I don't know positively that BMI and ASCAP policy is to "remove" old rights relationships. But they DO need to document CHANGED relationships. When a new party purchases or is assigned rights to a song previously assigned to someone else, the change has to be documented. The old relationship CANNOT remain listed, to avoid potential controversies and mix-ups. It is conceivable that when rights are not renewed, there is an old database kept in storage, but it doesn't seem to be reflected in the active database on the websites. Otherwise, I would have found the information in all those unsuccessful searches. It wouldn't make sense to list rights that don't exist anymore. If potential users want to use a song whose rights are no longer "protected", they would then think that those rights are still protected, and possibly give up on choosing to use that song after trying hard, in vain, to find that party.

    I wonder if it would behoove BMI and ASCAP to make their old databases available for research, at nominal charges per search(assuming the old data still exists)?

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