Friday, June 19, 2015

50 years ago: Four Tops “I Can’t Help Myself” hit #1

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)

The Four Tops

Writer(s): Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland (see lyrics here)

Released: April 23, 1965

First Charted: May 15, 1965

Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 11 HR, 19 RB, 10 UK, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.6 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 32.0 video, 253.05 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Four Tops formed in 1953 in Detroit. They were high school students who sang jazz standards. They would record together for more than 40 years without any lineup changes – a claim no other group to top the Billboard Hot 100 can make. FB Their big break came when they signed with Motown after a decade of minimal success. They achieved their first chart hit, “Baby I Need Your Loving,” in 1964, reaching #11.

The song was written by the legendary songwriting and production team of Holland, Dozier, and Holland – as were many Four Tops’ hits to come. The song was inspired by Lamon Dozier’s grandfather, who catcalled women, saying ‘Hey, sugar pie! Hi there, honey bunch!’” 500 The words were paired with a chord progression almost identical to a previous hit by Holland-Dozier-Holland: the Supremes’ 1964 hit “Where Did Our Love Go.”

However, with Levi Stubbs singing lead, it became “all about conveying fervent passion.” SG Holland-Dozier-Holland knew how to use his voice. He “was a rarity, a baritone who sang lead…They pushed him into a higher register, so that his voice would sound strained and desperate. He had a preacher’s urgency, and that gave the group’s records a raw intensity” SG that wasn’t typical of Motown artists.

It was the group’s first chart-topper and “defines ‘the Motown sound.’” FB Billboard magazine named it the biggest R&B single of the year and the second biggest single of 1965. WK It was also their first top-40 entry in the UK.


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First posted 11/4/2022.

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