Saturday, December 26, 2009
HONORING A LEGENDARY TOP: ABDUL DUKE FAKIR
When I learned that I was born the same day as Duke of The Four Tops, I was excited. To was born the same day as the guy who's a member of the world's famous singing group who until 1997 was the only group to have all original members without a change in personel for 43 years. Now he's the only suriving member of the legendary group, who's keeping the legacy alive with Theo Peoples, Ron Mc Neir and Raquel Payton, the son of the group's late vocal arranger Lawerence, who along with Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Levi Stubbs had died from cancer.
I admire Duke for keeping the legacy going and for honoring his 3 best friends, who gave us wonderful music and showed the industry that a group of Black guys can weather any storm togehter and they did. I wish that some of today's groups would follow their examples.
Known for his trademark glasses and smile, Duke always gives the fans his best when he sings his line on the group's million selling classic "Ain't No Woman (Like The One I Got). He always acts like he's writing when he sings the line 'Like a page on a letter.'
He always shows his sense of humor during the group performs their debut hit "Baby I Need Your Loving." After the group does a call and response, Theo always says take it off/Take it off, and Duke jokingly tells a audience member hey man put your clothes back on.
When they group performs their live version of Heatwave's classic ballad "Always And Forever," Theo always tells the brothers in the audience that it's a nice song to sing to their ladies, but Duke reminds him 'Now you know everybody can't sing.
That's right buy her a Mercedes, she'll be singing to you.
Duke is also knows for his loyalty to long-time friends and fellow Motown artists including Otis Williams of The Temptations and Mary Wilson of The Supremes, who perform together from time to time.
In his autobiography, Otis said that after the Motown 25 special, he was telling Duke that he and The Four Tops should perform the battle of the bands on the road.
"That's a great idea" Duke replied.
That tour lasted for 3 years.
He's also good friends with Mary Wilson who he dated during the 1960's. When his marriage was having problems, he and the sexy Supreme began to date and live together, having artists calling them the true sweethearts of Motown. In her autobiography, Mary said that whenever he wasn't on tour he would say SweatPea I'm bringing some of the guys home and she would cook up a big dinner and would have fun. She also said that Duke's the true love of her life, and though they ended their romance, they've remained friends, and when The Four Tops was having their 50th anniversary special, Duke personally called Mary and asked if she would love to perform their version of the classic "River Deep Mountain High" with them and she agreed. In fact, on the show, Duke personally introduced her to the crowd who rewarded her with a standing ovation as she strutted on the dress in her red dress.
Duke has great taste in women.
One characterestic I've learn is his humility. On their 50th anniversary DVD, he spoke about how he kept his promise to his mother when he brought her a house. His late mother worked as a domestic, and when he saw the couple she was working for attending the group's concert, he asked Berry Gordy for an $10,000 advance. Gordy gave him $20,000, and Duke told his mother that she can retire and he would take care of her for the rest of her life.
Abdul Duke Fakir is a classy, talented, humble man and I like to wish him a happy birthday and to continue keeping the group's legacy alive.