The Four Tops, “Bernadette”

It was a magical combination. The songwriting team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, passing their polished gems off to the Four Tops, led by Levi Stubbs’ blustery battering ram of a voice, sweetly contrasted by the smoothness of Duke Fakir, Obie Benson and Lawrence Payton. When both songwriters and group were at the top of their game, as on the searing yet romantic 1967 hit “Bernadette,” the results were quite simply as good as popular music could get. According to a 2003 interview Dozier did with Hits magazine, he and his songwriting pals might have changed the names to protect the innocent, but the emotional content of the lyrics came from true life. “There were three Bernadettes, and they were all different girls,” Dozier remembered. “We sorta kept that to ourselves that we all had our own Bernadette. We always said, we'd never bring a girlfriend's name into the songs. We had this hidden thing when the name came up, so we didn't say anything. So at least two of us were thinking about the Bernadettes we knew." When describing the potency of any Motown hit, of course, it is impossible to overstate the importance of the…

To view this content,

Join Today

or Sign In

The Benefits of Membership:

  • Subscription to the American Songwriter Print Magazine
  • Access to all Feature Magazine Content Online
  • Access to Print Edition Archives
  • Premium content in our Songwriter U section
  • Discounts on vinyl, Songwriter services, and other American Songwriter Partners
  • Exclusive access to members-only contests and giveaways
Click to Join

We've started an American Songwriter membership! Click here to learn more.