Baritone Levi Stubbs, the heart of the Four Tops, died today in Detroit at age 72, the Detroit News reports. With Abdul Fakir, Lawrence Payton and Renaldo Benson, Stubbs recorded many iconic hits of the Motown era, including Bernadette, Reach Out (I’ll Be There), and Standing in the Shadows of Love. On his own, he was the voice of Audrey the carnivorous plant in the 1986 film version of Little Shop of Horrors.
Ill health forced Stubbs to stop performing in 2000, ending a career that began in Detroit nightclub circuit in the 1950s. "Smooth, classy and polished, they were big stuff," recounted Motown founder Berry Gordy in a memoir. "I wanted them bad. I could see how loyal they were to each other, and I knew they would be the same way to me and Motown."