Sugar Pie, Bunch of Honey, if you just can’t help it, come to the Detroit Public Library on Wednesday for the Detroit Public Library Author Series presentation by Duke Fakir and Kathleen McGhee -Anderson as they discuss “I’ll Be There: My Life with the Four Summits.”
As one of Motown’s defining voices and the last surviving member of the original Four Tops, Fakir remembers and cherishes the memories he shared as part of that band in his memoir “I’ll Be There: My Life with the Four Tops”. Along with his co-author Kathleen McGhee, he will present his story at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Detroit Public Library. The discussion will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a signing session.
The Four Tops played for 44 years with no change in singers, featuring the vocals of Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Peyton. Fakir said the original group bond was a story he felt needed to be shared with the world, as the original four had previously discussed writing a book together.
“When the Four Tops were alive, we always said that the four of us were going to sit down and write a book together about our lives and how we started,” Fakir said. “It’s just a wonderful love story about four guys who were born pretty much in the ghetto and became beloved gentlemen of the world. Because once we started singing, our whole vision of life has changed. We just started looking at the beauty of life and traveling and being able to sing for the world and make people happy.
Fakir enjoyed reminiscing about details from his past while working through the writing process with McGhee.
“The writing process was very easy,” Fakir said. “We would sit at the pool for about four days and talk all day…I just relived the wonderful experiences of my life from the very beginning. She enjoyed writing it and we just had fun.
Fakir hopes readers will understand the importance of teamwork and working towards a common goal of love from his story.
“They (readers) should learn how four guys from the ghetto, because of the music, had sex,” Fakir said. “We loved each other, we loved to sing with each other, we loved making music, we loved to entertain people and we realized that we could make people happy… If you have a common goal, which is the love, four people can work together and do whatever it takes to achieve this goal.
As a Motown singer who has spent his entire life in Detroit, Fakir said the city influenced his career.
“When Motown moved, we decided to stay in Detroit, and that’s where we’ve been,” Fakir said. “I’m still here…I’ve always loved Detroit…I don’t think negatively about it, what if we hadn’t stayed in Detroit. I know what happened because we were in Detroit, we kept our unit and it paid off for years and years and years enjoying exactly what we did.
In addition to the memoirs, Fakir and McGhee collaborated with producers Paul Lambert and Michael Swanson, senior vice president of NBC and Universal Television Production to create the musical “I’ll Be There.” The show is set to premiere in Detroit in the spring of 2023 before heading to London.
“I’ll Be There: My Life with the Four Peaks”
by Abdul “Duke” Fakir
Publisher: Omnibus Press
Available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other booksellers.