Renaldo "Obie" Benson, a member of the legendary Motown singing group the Four Tops, died Friday at a Detroit hospital. He was 69.

Renaldo "Obie" Benson, a member of the legendary Motown singing group the Four Tops, died Friday at a Detroit hospital. He was 69.

His death was confirmed by Craig Hankenson, president of Producers Inc., one of the agencies that books dates for the Four Tops.

"It was not unexpected. He has been ill," Hankenson said.

The Four Tops sold more than 50 million records and recorded hit songs such as "Baby I Need Your Loving," "Reach Out (I'll be There)," "I Can't Help Myself" and "Standing in the Shadows of Love."

Benson's death leaves two surviving members of the original group: Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir. The fourth original Top, Lawrence Payton, died of liver cancer in 1997.

They are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Four Tops began singing together in the 1950s under the name the Four Aims and signed a deal with Chess Records. They later changed their names to the Four Tops. The group signed with Motown Records in 1963 and produced a string of hits over the next decade.

AP LogoCopyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print