Lawrence Payton

March 2, 1938 – June 20, 1997

Lawrence Payton spent 43 years as part of one of the most successful R&B acts of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. That act was the Four Tops and Payton was often cited as the musical backbone of the group. He was responsible for many of the Tops’ most memorable harmonies and arrangements.

Unlike friendly Motown rivals, The Temptations, the Four Tops’ story is one of stability and longevity. Payton’s death in 1997 of stomach cancer was the first line-up change within the group in over 4 decades. His son, Roquel, also sang with a later version of the Tops taking over for Lawrence’s childhood friend, Obie Benson. Payton was 59 when he died.


Woodlawn Cemetery – Detroit, MI

Specific Location

Section 40 – Straight north of the hourglass lake in Section 10 and just beyond (northwest of) the grove of trees in the center of Section 40.

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