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Lasting Tribute page for LAWRENCE PAYTON
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Lawrence Payton was one quarter of The Four Tops who formed in 1953 and stayed together for more than four decades recording some of the most memorable Motown hits of all-time.When Mr Payton died of liver cancer at the age of 59 on June 20, 1997, it forced the first-ever change in the line-up of a group who first met at high school.Mr Payton and Renaldo Benson were both pupils at Detroit's Northern High Scool. Across the city, Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir attended Perching High. The quartet came together to sing at a local birthday party and stayed together from then onwards.The early years brought little commercial success although they had deals with a number of record companies. They made use of this time to craft a polished stage act with dance steps and harmonies that would become their trademark in later years.Their big break came in 1963 when Berry Gordy Junior signed them to his Motown record label.Their hits included Baby I Need Your Loving in 1964, I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honeybunch) in 1965 and Reach Out (I'll Be There), as well as the 1967 hits Standing in the Shadows of Love and Bernadette.Born in Kenilworth Street, Detroit in 1938, Mr Payton was married for 26 years to Yone Marie Woodfin. They had one child, Sunny Giovanni, and Mr Payton adopted his wife's two children from a previous marriage, Kimberly and Larry. He had seven other children and was a surrogate father to five others. He had 26 grandchildren.Mr Payton sang tenor andis credited withresponsibility for The Four Tops'smooth, sharp jazz/pop hamonies.He fell ill in March 1997 just before a concert in Atlantic City. Shortly afterwards he was diagnosed with liver cancer and died in June that year.Paying tribute, Berry Gordy Junior called Payton "a very special man, simple, laid-back, quiet ... with a cool genius about him. His passing in a sense is an end of an era -- the era that the Four Tops defined and maybe even invented. They had class. They had style."Calling Payton the creator of the Tops' smooth, seamless harmony, Gordy said much of the credit for the group's remarkable 43-year career together was Payton's "glue of integrity, honor, loyalty and love...""Their harmony in song was the best there is. Their harmony in life was even better." Jointly, the three surviving Tops issued the following statement, "He's an unremovable part of us, a best friend, a brother, a teacher, a taskmaster and a gentle, caring soul."We will always remember every time we bow to applause, every time we hear four-part harmony, or someone sings a wrong note, we'll remember his songs of praise, as well as his looks of criticism which made us all excel in our music and, therefore, in our lives."
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Viewed by: 2560 visitors. Uploaded: 10 years ago
Published in: Online.
Published from: October 22, 2008.
Region: National
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Left by Sharon :
02/03/2014
Seems such a pity that Lawrence has no tributes recorded when Levi has received dozens. He was as much a part of the 4 Tops and will be missed. Same for Obie who I have also left a tribute for. Together with they Duke created the whole sound of the Tops by blending so superbly with Levis voice. A rare combination that lasted for decades in this world of fickleness. My favorite Motown Group of all time. The young stars of today would do well to last five years in the music business never mind over 50 years!! with the SAME line up - Mind blowing! saw them all in the 70's and they will be sadly missed.
Left by Steve Sutton: 23/10/2008
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