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  1. #1

    the four tops and the andantes

    tell the truth ... who thought the four tops sound was created solely by the tops? i was young and perhaps not overly sophisticated but i was amazed by the wonderful sound i believed was entirely the tops. it was many years later that i learn the high/low backgrounds were not one group but two! who else thought that? this all kind of fits into the marvin, tammi, and val revelation. motown, like most other record companies sure had a whole lotta tricks up their sleeves. am i disappointed? no, the true history is so much more fascinating.i wonder if there are more secrets yet to be unraveled? anybody have any wild ideas of what other tricks are out there?
    Last edited by thisoldheart; 12-14-2011 at 04:35 AM.

  2. #2
    uptight Guest
    Yeah, generally most listeners were not as critical then as they can be now. With today's technology we take it for granted the ability to play digital audio files and compare them, take them apart and edit them so quickly.

    Since the Andantes were at the Hitsville Studio full-time, they backed up almost everyone at Motown. A person can't be too disappointed learning the group's name was The Andantes. A good record is still a good record. Producers did what they had to do to get a hit record, using the tools that were available. I can't be mad at that, LOL.

  3. #3
    yes, but in the four tops case the andantes created a totally new sound that was unlike any other group! i don't think the tops would be as highly regarded without the (then) uncredited andantes, and i am quite sure the songs would never have done as well without them. it is very similar to the completely different sound of the marvelettes once smokey had wanda take the leads and used the andantes to smooth the group into a very sophisticated new sound. i used to think the andantes were generic sounding (like on "forever came today"), now i think they are miracle workers!

  4. #4
    That the Andantes provided accompanying harmonies on the Four Tops' records was no secret back in the 60s. There was once a picture in Billboard or Cash Box showing the Tops giving gifts to their "background" singers after a trip to the UK.

  5. #5
    I think the producers used the Andantes with the Tops to create a totally different sound from the other male groups at the time like the Temps, Spinners and Contours. I always loved the Tops sound but thought the higher registered vocals were from within the group until I saw them perform live for the first time in 1972. I don't think background singers were ever used once they left Motown though.

  6. #6
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by thisoldheart View Post
    tell the truth ... who thought the four tops sound was created solely by the tops? i was young and perhaps not overly sophisticated but i was amazed by the wonderful sound i believed was entirely the tops. it was many years later that i learn the high/low backgrounds were not one group but two! who else thought that? this all kind of fits into the marvin, tammi, and val revelation. motown, like most other record companies sure had a whole lotta tricks up their sleeves. am i disappointed? no, the true history is so much more fascinating.i wonder if there are more secrets yet to be unraveled? anybody have any wild ideas of what other tricks are out there?
    Ok, I will let you in on just how "deluded" I was about the combination of the Four Tops and the Andantes.

    I wanted so much to be a singer and I was always trying to form my brothers and myself into a Temptations or Four Tops sort of group. I got hooked on those ultra high vocals on the Four Tops songs and was amazed that a guy or at least a couple of them could sing so high! Here is where my delusion really took fire. I figured if the Tops could sound like that, so could I. I practiced and practiced and practiced until I actually increased my range to hit those high notes! The greatest accomplishment was when I could do those dramatic AHHHHHHs heard on Bernadette.

    Looking back, I don't know how I could have been that naive! At one point, I did allow that maybe it was the Four Tops' wives or something who were doing a Claudette Rogers thing where they would do vocals on recordings only and not tour with the Tops. By the time I learned the Andantes were a nearly permanent addition to all of the Four Tops' recordings, the damage had been done. I can now hit low baritone notes and do all of the Andantes' parts as well!

    Amazing what delusions can do.

  7. #7
    uptight Guest
    Wow, Hunter. It looks like you set the bar high for yourself and exceeded expectations.

  8. #8
    Well, at least you can do Eddie Kendricks now. I ruined my voice for a week trying to do "Get Ready" at a karaoke party.

    On the other hand, Claudette from the Miracles tells a story of when Smokey was laid up with flu and the Miracles had to go out on the road without him for a few dates in the South - audiences who'd never seen the group's pictures assumed she was "Smokey" because of the high voice they'd heard on the records. So, you're not so deluded

    The Tops and Andantes were good on their own, but they always sounded amazing filling out each other's sound. (Which seems, incidentally, to have been an accidental but fortuitous discovery when the two groups provided (credited!) backing on the long-forgotten 1963 Holland-Dozier novelty What Goes Up Must Come Down.) I think that's why the LPs the Tops cut with the Jean Terrell 70s Supremes sound better (to me anyway!) than the equivalent 60s DRATS/Temptations albums.

  9. #9
    I think many of the hardcore fans were blown out of the water when we found out that there were no Vandellas, Supremes or Marvelettes behind the lead singer and that the Andantes, Contours and many others were behind the lead singers of those groups.

    But it was a different era and news moved much more slowly.

    I was so naive that I thought Mary Wilson was doing the Johnny Bristol parts on Someday We'll Be Together; and I know others on here thought the same thing. And now, I can't believe I would have thought such a thing.

    Mainly, it was shock that the groups weren't really the people singing that blew me away.

  10. #10
    HA! i thought mary wilson was saying "you tell 'em" on "someday" too! we were pretty naive back then ...

  11. #11
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by uptight View Post
    Wow, Hunter. It looks like you set the bar high for yourself and exceeded expectations.
    LOL! You're very right there!

  12. #12
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    [QUOTE=radionixon;82429]Well, at least you can do Eddie Kendricks now. I ruined my voice for a week trying to do "Get Ready" at a karaoke party.

    On the other hand, Claudette from the Miracles tells a story of when Smokey was laid up with flu and the Miracles had to go out on the road without him for a few dates in the South - audiences who'd never seen the group's pictures assumed she was "Smokey" because of the high voice they'd heard on the records. So, you're not so deluded

    The Tops and Andantes were good on their own, but they always sounded amazing filling out each other's sound. QUOTE]


    Ha, ha! Yeah, I wanted so desperately to sing like Eddie when I first heard "Get Ready" and now, that falsetto is not a problem at all anymore!

    I remember reading that story about Claudette going out to sing Smokey's leads. This is getting off subject a bit, but in my younger years, I thought about that and wondered if that's why all of a sudden, Smokey started cutting quite a few songs in more of a mid-range, gruffer style. "Dance To Keep From Crying" "A Love That She Can Count On" "Happy Landing" and a few others featured Smokey singing with a bit more gravel and grit than before. Maybe after awhile, he thought to heck with it and decided to return back to his more famous silk and smooth style. Funny how the mind comes up with these "theories!"

    Ok, I'm finished running of the main trail of this thread! Yes, there really was something amazing about the sound of the Tops and Andantes together that I never heard any other time the Andantes were paired with any other male group.

  13. #13
    Just LOVE The Andantes singing their refrain line in Ask The Lonely.
    Sooo smooth and well pitched.

  14. #14
    If you listen to It's Growing by The Temptations there are two points in the recording where the Andantes sing the title. They sound like voices from heaven.

  15. #15
    Indeed! With a little help from the echo chamber... the snakepit bathroom!

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