Levi Stubbs, Voice of the Four Tops, Dead at 72

Singer of such hits as "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch.)," "Baby I Need Your Loving," "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" succumbs to cancer

By Marcus Errico Oct 17, 2008 6:28 PMTags

The indelible voice behind the Four Tops, and one seriously deranged man-eating vegetable, has been silenced.

Levi Stubbs died in his sleep Friday at his home in Detroit, according to the Wayne County medical examiner. His family said he had been in ill health for some time, but declined to elaborate.

Stubbs' killer baritone provided the soundtrack for some of Motown's greatest hits, teaming with the Tops on such classics as "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," "Baby I Need Your Loving," "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" and "Standing in the Shadows of Love." All told, the Tops scored 20 Top 40 hits and their tunes were covered by the likes of Blondie and Clay Aiken.

The quartet was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

On his own, Stubbs' pipes powered the voice of Mother Brain in the old Saturday morning 'toon Captain N: The Game Master and, most famously, Audrey II, the insatiable "Mean, Green Mother from Outer Space," in the 1986 movie version of Little Shop of Horrors.