The Four Tops – Bernadette

1st February 2023 · 1960s, 1967, Music, Soul

I don’t think I ever heard the name Levi Stubbs until Billy Bragg wrote and sang a song in the mid-Eighties called Levi Stubbs’ Tears. Even then I doubt I realised who he was.

Levi Stubbs was the lead singer of The Four Tops and this song, with Stubbs’ emotional voice the perfect vehicle to express one man’s obsessive love for a woman, is one of the first of their many many hits I remember.

It’s written by Motown’s genius songwriting trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland and performed by their genius house band The Funk Brothers, with bassist James Jamerson in the funkiest of form.

I doubt I remember it from its release date in 1967 – it was a hit all over again when it was re-released in 1972.

You’ve gotta love the false ending when all the instruments drop out and the backing singers – The Andantes – hold the note before Stubbs comes back roaring: “Bernadette!”… and the song starts up again.