February 1966: The Four Tops Record "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)"

Four Tops
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Chris Walter/WireImage

Following their Motown debut just two years before, by 1966, the Four Tops were enjoying their fruits of their labor with no signs of stopping their roll out to success. 

The four friends kept their winning streak alive and running by teaming up with the genius Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team to record "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)," a single that would further cement their impressive catalog into the mainstream.

The alchemy of the Tops and Holland-Dozier-Holland union had already proven favorable through the Tops' Motown debut in 1964 with million-selling hit single "Baby I Need Your Loving" tucked under their collaborative belt.  

Perhaps a testament to Holland-Dozier-Holland's trademark ability to pair a kicking, danceable beat to an anxious, even depressing lyrics of a lover's restless turmoil as he realizes that his partner is about to leave him behind. 

The song was as unapologetic as it was anthemic - the drums driving against the menacing piano bass line, until each of the Four Tops' weapons are deployed to create a magical vocal harmony while the track transcends into a magnetic story of impassioned injustice. 

Although there are other Four Tops releases that charted higher or commercially pitched onto different "greatest" lists, this Four Tops single hold its own as a masterfully crafted stepping stone that would maintain the mainstream spotlight on these four best friends.

Nothing could stand in the way for these same four best friends who refused to call it quits during their remarkable span of 44 years together. Until the passing of the talented Lawrence Payton in 1997, this iconic quartet from Detroit aged like fine wine, consistently delivering their signature goods decade after decade. 

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