Motown fans in the city will be keen to snap up tickets for the only UK theatre performance this year by The Four Tops.
They will be live on stage at The Peterborough New Theatre on Thursday August 15.
“Never has such a legendary Motown band ever come to Peterborough before,” said show promoter Steve Jason, “and it is the only UK theatre date in the whole of the UK this year – they come over to headline The Rewind Festival in Henley on the Saturday in front of 40,000 people but we’ve managed to get them to come to Peterborough two days earlier to perform on Broadway at The New Theatre.
“The last time the band came over they were playing the big arenas with the Temptations, we’re doing a bit of googling and we think the show here in Peterborough will be the smallest theatre show the band have done in the UK in 25 years – it is that much of a coup!
“Without doubt they will be the biggest name to appear at the venue this year.”
Their first Motown hit, Baby I Need Your Loving in 1964, made them stars and their sixties track record on the label is indispensable to any retrospective of the decade. Their songs, soulful and bittersweet, were across-the-board successes. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), a No. 1 R&B and pop smash in 1965, is one of Motown’s longest-running chart toppers.
It was quickly followed by a longtime favourite, It’s The Same Old Song and their commercial peak was highlighted by a romantic trilogy: the no. 1 Reach Out I’ll Be There, Standing In The Shadows Of Love and Bernadette.
The Four Tops continued their success with s string of hits throughout the 70s and 80s and their final solo Top 40 hit, Indestructible, was the theme of the 1988 Summer Olympics. That year they also partnered with Aretha Franklin, a longtime friend from Detroit, for the Top 40 R&B If Ever A Love There Was.
During this period, Stubbs stepped out and gained notoriety for voicing the man-eating plant Audrey II in the film musical Little Shop Of Horrors, for which he sang the cult classic Mean Green Mother From Outer Space.
In 1990, with 24 Top 40 pop hits to their credit, the Four Tops were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Though they would no longer have hits on record, the group continued to be a hit in concert, touring incessantly, a towering testament to the enduring legacy of the Motown Sound they helped shape and define.
Following Payton’s death in 1997, the group briefly worked as a trio until Theo Peoples, a former Temptation, was recruited to restore the group to a quartet. When Stubbs subsequently grew ill, Peoples became the lead singer and former Motown artist-producer Ronnie McNeir was enlisted to fill Payton’s spot. In 2005, when Benson died, Payton’s son Roquel replaced him.
For Rolling Stone’s 2004 article The Immortals – The Greatest Artists Of All Time, Smokey Robinson remembered: “They were the best in my neighborhood in Detroit when I was growing up (and) the Four Tops will always be one of the biggest and the best groups ever. Their music is forever.”
Tickets for the concert at Peterborough New Theatre are on sale now from:
In person – Visitor Information Centre Bridge Street Peterborough 01733 452336
By phone – 0333 666 4466