Motown magic will be the order of the day when three legendary bands will be performing the very best of their songs on a UK tour.
Tavares, The Temptations and The Four Tops promise a night of great entertainment at Manchester Arena on October 22.
At the height of the ‘disco’ boom, Tavares had many hits and featured on the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever for which they won a Grammy.
The band is a family affair as they are all brothers; of Cape Verdean origin.
They had hits like It Only Takes A Minute (covered by Take That), Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, More Than A Woman and Don’t Take Away The Music.
Relaxing at his home in Massachusetts, Ralph Tavares tells me how the band started and their many influences.
“Well, we performed Cape Verdean songs with our father, who really started us off. Then rock and roll came along and he didn’t want anything to do with that, so that was that as far as he was concerned.”
“We particularly liked Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers and it was our eldest brother John who really got us into that, then there was the Motown sound with The Temptations and especially Marvin Gaye who was a big influence.”
Coming from small-town America wasn’t easy. “It’s been a long struggle, but we got lucky as our manager Brian lived in the same town and he managed to get us a deal with Capitol Records.”
The group was made up of five brothers; Ralph, Antone ‘Chubby’, Feliciano‘Butch’, Perry Lee ‘Tiny’ and Arthur ‘Pooch’. Some years ago Ralph ‘retired’ from the band but returned to replace Pooch who suffered a mild stroke.
A notable feature of Tavares’ music is that, unusually for a male singing group, they do not have a lead voice.
“To be honest,” says Ralph, “I think it has helped us because of the blend of harmonies. I believe in strength in numbers.”
Having changed their band name to Tavares from Chubby and The Turnpikes in 1969, they plied their trade mainly in the US, and started to have success.
Then Saturday Night Fever happened. “Again, it was a real stroke of luck,” said Ralph.
“Our manager and Al Corey, the president of RSO Records went to school together. We were playing at Madison Square Garden and The Bee Gees came to see us and they loved us.”
The song they recorded for the soundtrack, More Than A Woman, was featured twice, once by The Bee Gees and by Tavares.
“When they were recording, we were in South America so The Bee Gees recorded it. However, we were contracted to do the song and so they cameup with a whole new scene for the film so they could fit the song in.”
They were awarded a Grammy for More Than A Woman, which has pride of place in Ralph’s home.
Tickets for Tavares, The Temptations and The Four Tops at Manchester Arena are priced at £40 and £45.