I'll Be There: An Evening with Duke Fakir of The Four Tops

Black and white publicity shot of The Four Tops

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In conversation with one of the great vocal groups.

This event will take place at the British Library. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical), or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

The online version of this event will be live captioned.

Motown Records vocal quartet The Four Tops were one of the most celebrated groups of all time. Teaming up at school in Deroit in the early 1950s, Obie Benson Lawrence Payton, Duke Fakir and Levi Stubbs went on to record a string of era-defining hit singles including ‘Reach Out, I'll Be There’, ‘I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)’, ‘Standing in the Shadows of Love’ and ‘Baby I Need Your Loving’.

They ranked with The Temptations and The Supremes as Motown’s most consistent hitmakers, but stardom also came with a more enduring reward: the love of four men who spent over four decades together without a personnel change.

Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, the last surviving member of The Four Tops, makes a special appearance at the British Library ahead of a new tour, to talk with his trademark honesty, humour and humility about his long life and career, as he publishes his memoir I’ll Be There. The book covers Duke’s Detroit childhood, The Four Tops’ early days as backing singers and their years of success, but doesn’t shy away from struggles with sobriety and relationships, soured investment deals and the sudden loss of his brothers.

‘In the middle of the 20th century worlds were colliding, times were changing, and people were ready for a message of love and togetherness – and they could get that from music. The Four Tops were a part of that and maybe because of who we were – a band of brothers who stuck together, known for our melodious harmonies - we were ones to sing it.’ – Duke Fakir

Duke Fakir is joined in conversation by Jacqueline Springer, Curator, Africa and Diaspora: Performance, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Bar open from 6pm. The conversation will be followed by a book signing.

Online event bookers can buy a copy of I’ll Be There: My Life with the Four Tops with a ticket at checkout for £23 (with UK postage) and watch the event for free. International postage will be higher. Books will be posted out within 7 days after the event. Please ensure your address is up to date on your British Library account.

In association with Omnibus Press

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Name: I'll Be There: An Evening with Duke Fakir of The Four Tops
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546