Lawrence Payton Biography (Wikipedia)
Lawrence Albert Payton (March 2, 1938 – June 20, 1997) was an American tenor, songwriter, vocal arranger and record producer for the popular Motown quartet, the Four Tops.
Payton and Renaldo Benson attended the same high school in Detroit and met Levi Stubbs and Abdul Fakir at a school birthday party. The four teenagers began singing in 1953 as The Four Aims but later changed their name to the Four Tops. Although successful in the local area as a performance group, recording success eluded them until signing with the newly established Tamla Motown label in 1963. They then became one of the biggest recording acts of the sixties, charting more than two dozen hits through to the early eighties. They are listed by Billboard Magazine as one of the Top 100 Artists of All Time.
Payton is credited for the vocal arrangements and the "smooth seamless harmony' of the Tops sound. He also sang lead on the songs "Feel Free"(from the Catfish album), "Until You Love Someone" and "The Girl From Ipanema" from the Four Tops Live! album (from their Motown days) but he was often overshadowed by the more popular Levi Stubbs. Stubbs praised Payton's contribution saying "He did everything music wise, he had a terrific ear, he was a terrific guy, perfect pitch, he just knew what he was doing, he was a genius".