The Four Tops

The Four Tops will perform in Aiken for the first time Oct. 22 to open the Etherredge Center's 2019-20 Cultural Series at USC Aiken.

The Four Tops will open USC Aiken's 2019-20 Cultural Series at 7:30 p.m Oct. 22 in the Etherredge Center for the Fine and Performing Arts.

For tickets, call 803-641-3305; go to www.usca.edu/etherredge-center; or visit the box office at 471 University Parkway.

"We are so fortunate to be able to kick off our season with such a bang," Etherredge Center Executive Director Paul B. Crook said in a news release from USCA. "The Four Tops are the type of performers that span generations. My parents love them; my wife and I love them; and our kids love them. I can't wait to have our audiences in our theater to see and hear these legends perform firsthand."

Beginning with the group's first Motown hit, "Baby I Need Your Loving," in 1964, the Four Tops have electrified audiences around the globe for more than half a century, according to the release. Now, for the first time ever, this fabulous foursome will be in concert here in Aiken, thanks to David Stinson who is sponsoring this performance. Indications suggest that it could be a sold-out event.

"Today, I'm with a wonderful group of guys who are about as close to the original Four Tops as it's possible to get," said founding Tops member, Duke Fakir, in a recent interview for the UDiscoverMusic website. "These guys – Ronnie McNeir, Harold Bonhart and Lawrence's son, Lawrence Payton Jr. – are doing a fine job keeping our legacy intact."

The soulful, immediately recognizable sound of the Four Tops has made them a huge success in the United States and Europe, according to the release. Having recently returned from gigs in the United Kingdom and Amsterdam, the Tops continue to wow audiences with their hits, including: "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," "It's the Same Old Song," "Reach Out I'll Be There," "Standing in the Shadows of Love," "Bernadette" and so many more. As some of the original purveyors of what would come to be known as the "Motown Sound," the Four Tops have quite literally helped create the American soundtrack for the last 50 years, according to the release.

In addition to chart-topping hits, here and abroad, the Four Tops have received just about every award and accolade possible for a musical group.

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997 and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Not only that, the Tops received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, marking the fifth decade to see the group recognized for its creative prowess.

They began their music career as "The Four Aims," singing jazz standards in Detroit. Once they signed with Motown Records and changed their name, however, their career took off and their legend grew.

Other performances in the Etherredge Center's Cultural Series season are as follows:

• Broadway star Shoshana Bean, sponsored by Turner's Keyboards, on Nov. 19

• A capella sacred singers, The Princely Players, on Dec. 12

• Multi-arts performers Artrageous, sponsored by "Bella Magazine," on Jan. 14, 2020

• New York dance company Flex Ave, sponsored by David Stinson, on Feb. 11, 2020

• The improvisational musical theater extravaganza, "Broadway's Next H!t Musical," sponsored by David Stinson, on March 31, 2020.

For more information, visit www.usca.edu/etherredge-center.

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.