A vintage, authentic cardboard concert poster for The Four Tops appearing at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on September 27, 1966.
This particular Four Tops placard was autographed by all four members of the legendary singing group, although decades after the actual show occurred.
This Four Tops tour poster was a standard “tour blank,” thereby perhaps used for many of the shows on the group’s West Coast swing in the year of ’66.
The upper portion of this Four Tops poster was printed, as you can see, in red ink… that is the information which changed from show-to-show, city-to-city. The blue- and black-ink areas underneath that had all the information which applied to any stop on the tour: group photo, song titles, the opening act, etc.
In addition to the “toning” present, this Four Tops display also has some fading of its colors, due to many years of being up on display.
In fact, this vintage Motown concert poster was owned by John Goddard, the proprietor of Village Music in Mill Valley, California, where it was hung up on that record store’s walls for a long time, alongside many other cool posters.
It’s really fascinating to note that this Four Tops broadside represents a show at S.F.’s famous Fillmore Auditorium during an era when promoter Bill Graham was holding his famous psychedelic series of concerts every weekend. This was a weekday show that ran in between Graham’s gigs.
In terms of those Bill Graham shows, this Four Tops billboard falls in the middle of the poster known as BG-29: two weekends of Fillmore concerts featuring Jefferson Airplane, Butterfield Blues Band and Muddy Waters.
So it’s an interesting contrast: this Four Tops boxing style poster made of cardboard, and Graham’s very colorful, paper, psychedelic concert posters that proliferated around Fillmore shows in the mid- to late-’60s.
When it was initially manufactured, this Four Tops concert placard had a bright white background, but it has obviously been “toned,” as in sunburned or browned, over the years by either sunlight or florescent lights… probably the latter, due to Village Music.
You might note how this Four Tops window display gives three song titles and obviously has room for more… but for some reason, it left off previous big Tops hits like “It’s the Same Old Song” and “I Can’t Help Myself.”
I can’t imagine that opening act Johnny Talbot was too pleased with Tilghman’s typesetters… the poster misspells his name “Johnny Tabot,” leaving out the letter “L” which changes the pronunciation which people would have attempted!
Which leads me to point out that Tilghman Press of Oakland, CA designed and printed this Four Tops show poster, doing an otherwise great job! Tilghman was a very common poster printer on the West Coast’s R&B circuit during the fifties and sixties.
Another cute thing to notice is that usually a poster such as this will say “Dance / Concert” or “Show & Concert,” but this Four Tops sign actually lists all three words across the bottom – “Dance Concert Show.” Overkill, but cool!
So this would be a good time to list the entire text just as it reads on this Four Tops telephone-pole poster:
(In red, at the top): Fillmore Auditorium – 1805 Geary St., San Francisco – One Nite Only – Tuesday, Sept. 27th – Starts at 9:00 P.M.
(And then in blue print, going down): THE FOUR TOPS – “Reach Out I’ll Be There” – “Baby I Need Your Loving” – “Ask the Lonely”
(And then the blue print segues to black): with Johnny Tabot [sic] and De Thangs – Dance – Concert – Show.
(and the tiny printer’s credit): Tilghman Press, 1217 – 32nd St., OAK. – 653-4388
I should have pointed out before now that this classic Motown window card measures the standard 14 by 22 inches in size.
This Four Tops tour placard is shown off and discussed by music-memorabilia collector Peter J. Howard (firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-540-0020). I will pay TOP DOLLAR, the best prices period, for fifties and sixties vintage soul music concert posters like this.
If it’s your desire to see a few more great soul-music ticket-selling posters from the sixties, just venture over to this page on my web site: http://www.postercentral.com/rhythmnblues.htm