Hundreds of mourners gathered at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit Monday for the funeral of Four Tops front man Levi Stubbs, the Motown great who died in his sleep Oct. 17 at his Detroit home. He was 72.
“He will always be here,” said Smokey Robinson, one of several Motown artists in attendance, according to the Associated Press. “You’re going to turn on the radio and hear him tomorrow. He made his mark on the world. All of the world, you’ll be able to hear Levi Stubbs forever.”
Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., also on hand, told mourners: “He made us walk in his shoes, felt what he felt and loved what he loved. He not only sang the song, he was the song.”
The service included two resolutions read by members of the city council, including one that marked June 6 as Levi Stubbs Day. Martha Reeves, a Detroit city councilwoman and former lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas, called Stubbs “my Pavarotti.”
“He stayed in Detroit,” added Councilwoman JoAnn Watson. “He could have gone anywhere, but he stayed with his wife, stayed with his group, stayed with the Four Tops.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson called the Four Tops “a family story,” remarking on the group’s decades together under Stubbs’ leadership.
“You just do not find an Aretha Franklin,” Jackson said. “You don’t find a Marvin Gaye. You don’t find a Smokey Robinson. You don’t find a Levi Stubbs. They don’t come in bunches like grapes. They are rare pearls.”
Former Temptations singer Dennis Edwards called Stubbs “the greatest lead singer ever.”