50 Essential Albums of 1967

From the Doors' debut to Aretha Franklin's first smash

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The Four Tops, 'Reach Out'
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The Four Tops, 'Reach Out'19/50

The Four Tops, 'Reach Out'

This Motown vocal institution's sixth album was a greatest-hits collection in all but title. Six of the 12 tracks were Top 20 pop singles. Three of those comprised what proved to be the climactic sweep of the Tops' bond with writer-producers Holland-Dozier-Holland: the theatrical urgency of the late-'66 Number One "Reach Out I'll Be There"; the galloping Top Ten followup "Standing in the Shadows of Love"; and early '67's "Bernadette," with its hammering keyboard riff and a harrowing shout by lead singer Levi Stubbs in the plunge of silence before the final choruses. The collaborative momentum was so hot that "I'll Turn to Stone," originally a B side to the mid-'67 single "7-Rooms of Gloom," made Billboard's R&B Top 50. But Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland soon turned their backs on Motown, over royalties, and stranded the Tops, who shuffled between producers and didn't score another Top 10 record until 1972 – for another label.

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