Much thanks to our friend, Michael for sending me this photo and link. I can never get enough of Brian Epstein and I had no idea that he was instrumental the Four Top's success in the U.K. And I didn't know that Paul and George were at this concert in 1967! I bet George especially enjoyed the concert.
The Four Tops at the Royal Albert Hall, January 1967. Prior to rehearsals for their concert there, the group greets Brian Epstein, promoter of their UK tour, and another London visitor, singer Del Shannon. From left are Tops members Renaldo “Obie” Benson, Lawrence Payton and Abdul “Duke” Fakir, with Epstein, second left, and Shannon, second right. Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs Jr. is not shown.
It was May 1965 when the Four Tops paid their first promotional visit to the U.K., meeting journalists and disc jockeys, and plugging their new single, “I Can’t Help Myself,” on radio and TV. But their real impact came the following year, when Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, promoted a series of Sunday-night concerts at the Saville Theatre in London. The Tops were booked for November 13, 1966.
Come the night, the hippest people in the capital, as well as scores of diehard Motown fans from across the country, filled the Saville. It helped that “Reach Out I’ll Be There” was then occupying the peak of the British charts. The Tops did not disappoint, putting on a performance to raise the roof: soulful, charismatic, energetic, with lead singer Levi Stubbs fulfilling every expectation, delivering every electric moment of their repertoire.
Little wonder, then, that Epstein brought the Four Tops back early in 1967 for a nationwide U.K. tour, and this time, the London venue was larger: the Royal Albert Hall. It was another show-stopping night, with a roaring, quasi-religious crowd showing as much love, if not more, towards the group than they were accustomed to receiving back home. And yes, there were a couple of Beatles (Paul, George) in the audience. They couldn’t help themselves.