The music of the Four Tops has shone in the spotlight for the last five decades. Retro radio stations continue to play the hits that have stood the test of time for their catchy melodies, strong vocals and feel-good vibes.
And the group, starring only one of the original members now, is still touring the country bringing joy and the charismatic Motown sound to fans.
Next week the Four Tops will bring their show to Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Mich. They'll perform at 9 p.m. Eastern Jan. 11 at the casino's Silver Creek Event Center.
"We're looking forward to performing there," said group member Lawrence Payton Jr. "We're going to give them all the old familiar songs and new favorites."
Payton, along with Duke Fakir, Ronnie McNeir and Spike Bonhart, are currently The Four Tops. Duke Fakir is the only original member.
The group was comprised of all original members from their beginnings in the early 1950s through 1997 when Lawrence Payton died.
The Four Tops got their start as The Four Aims in Detroit and starred Fakir, Levi Stubbs, Renaldo Obie Benson and Lawrence Payton. Stubbs died in 2008 while Benson died in 2005.
For singer Payton, the son of Lawrence Payton, it's rewarding to be performing as a member of such an iconic group and he's proud he's continuing his father's legacy. He's been with the group full time since 2005.
"It's quite humbling and an honor to be in that position," he said, adding that Fakir requested he be in the group and welcomed him with open arms.
"To look on the left [when we're performing] and see him there is a great honor," Payton said.
He added the group's fans have been so dedicated and supportive through the years and it's always a joy to perform for the crowd.
"That's the whole reason why I enjoy doing this, is for the fans. They enjoy it," Payton said.
The singer said the group realizes what an impact the classic songs have made on audiences.
"You realize that you touch a lot of people's lives. We did a show for veterans [recently] and I can't tell you how many people came up to me to tell me what the music meant to them," he said.
Among favorite tunes included on Four Tops' concert playlists are "I Can't Help Myself, (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)"; "Reach Out I'll Be There," "It's the Same Old Song," "Baby I Need Your Loving," and "Bernadette."
Payton said many of their tunes came out during a time when the country was dealing with civil rights and integration issues. "Then you had this music that tore down the walls that were between us racially. It was a remarkable time," he said. All races, colors and creeds, he said, loved the music.
According to Payton, the melodies and the music of that time were unique and he doesn't believe those "beautiful melodies" will "ever be duplicated" again.
The original Four Tops "tremendous" voices, the music and the lyrics were all part of "a perfect storm" coming together, Payton said.
The singer hopes Four Winds' concert attendees who have seen the Tops in the past will walk away with the same good feeling they had hearing the songs live for the first time.
An upcoming project for the group is the release of a new jazz-inspired album this year.