Reach Out I’ll Be There – Four Tops | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 2 weeks); 1966

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

After the Four Tops’ one-two punch of I Can’t Help Myself and It’s The Same Old Song in 1965, both written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, the group had cooled off at Top 40 radio.

For the Tops return to the top H-D-H crafted an edgier sound then the previous singles. Reach Out I’ll Be There opened with a flute line and a percussion effect derived by striking a board, laid over a pounding beat.

And, whereas on previous singles (except Ask The Lonely) Levi’s lead was mixed down as part of an ensemble effort, this time it was up loud and in your face.

Assuming that Reach Out was just another album track, the group had knocked off their vocals in a couple of takes. The group may have been unimpressed, yet, label owner Berry Gordy smelled a smash. Upon release Reach Out immediately grabbed everyone’s attention and didn’t let go until it was #1.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Brian Holland
    Lamont Dozier

Lyrics Written by:

  • Holland–Dozier–Holland