The Four Tops signed this publicity shot for Lottie "The Body" Graves
In 1980 the Tops asked Fred if he'd like to become their Road Manager.

"The idea appealed to me as I already had some of the credentials" recalled Fred. "I had worked the clubs as a singer, knew about stage lighting, knew how to handle musicians etc etc. What was going to be new was dealing with travel arrangements, and the like, but I suppose I picked that up pretty good as I've been in the job for twenty-five years!

In fact we've travelled all over USA, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand. It's been fun.

During those years our song writing habits would change as did the quality of the equipment.

We had moved our EQ over to Lawrence's house on San Juan. There was no longer a requirement to pay a band for rehearsals. The equipment saw to that. 

I'll give you another example of how the advances in equipment had changed things. Take the Tops' Christmas song, 'Christmas here with you', which was released on an MCA album in 1995. 

I swear that our home demo sounded so good that this didn't need to go to a studio. No one would have known. But anyway, they wanted Paul Riser in to arrange it with real musicians. Paul's a genius of course, but what a waste, it was totally unnecessary."

Lawrence and Fred then invited George Rowntree, the Tops' musical Director, to join their song writing team as they felt his expertise could add an extra dimension to their music."


Notes thanks to David Meikle.

photograph courtesy of Lottie Graves


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