Friday, May 20, 2016

"I Just Can't Walk Away" by The Four Tops

Song#:  1659
Date:  10/22/1983
Debut:  93
Peak:  71
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  After two albums for Casablanca that yielded the #1 R&B hit "When She Was My Girl" (#9 AC/#11 Pop), the vocal group moved back to their original home label of Motown, which they had left in 1972. Their first album for the label was appropriately title Back Where I Belong and this first single was issued to get things started. Unfortunately, the results didn't even come close to replicating the success of their previous Motown hits and it fell of the chart after a couple of months. The tune's best showing was at AC where it did get to #18. At R&B, the single stalled just inside the Top 40 at #36. The album then quickly and quietly disappeared.

ReduxReview:  The Four Tops + Holland-Dozier-Holland + Motown. It has to be a fantastic return to form, right? Nope. What should have been a hot, upbeat, retro reunion of the three somehow turned into this sluggish ballad. It is well-performed by the Tops, but the song is a dud. It's almost reaching for a Commodores-ish sound but falls flat. It's definitely not a horrible tune, but considering the songwriters, the artist, and the label, it is pretty disappointing.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  For the new Motown album, the Tops were once again paired with the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. HDH wrote many songs for the Tops during their original Motown days including their two biggest hits "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" (#1 Pop and R&B, 1965) and "Reach Out I'll Be There" (#1 Pop and R&B, 1966). HDH wrote this song and four others for the new album, but the magic that they had with the Tops in the early days was no longer there. The album also boasted two superstar duets (neither written by HDH) - one with Aretha Franklin and one with The Temptations. The appearance of the legendary stars also failed to attract listeners.



  1. Usually I'm in pretty close agreement to all your reviews....but not on this one. I absolutely loved this song. It was beautifully written and performed, and the instrumental break with the lush strings and sax was fantastic. But, that's been the nature of music for time immemorial - one man's "American Pie" by Don McLean, is another man's "American Pie" by Madonna.

    1. I love that analogy! You are so right. I don't mind if there are differing views at all. I think it is interesting to get another perspective. I'll occasionally change my opinion based on something someone mentioned that made me think about the song/LP/book/move, etc. in a different way. Always fun and interesting!