Soul

Soul

Combines rhythm and blues and gospel music styles.

Cultural Origin

1960

Prominent Artists

Al Green, Archie Bell, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Dionne Warwick

Influenced By

Gospel, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues

Later Influenced

Motown, R&B, Psychedelic Soul, Rock, Hip Hop

‍The Stax Records Building in Memphis, Tennessee.
‍The Stax Records Building in Memphis, Tennessee.

About The Genre

"A genre born of the Afro-American experience, soul music sprang from the blues clubs, churches and street corners of the US, where R&B, gospel and doo-wop rang out in chorus. When those three styles collided, soul’s big bang occurred. Ray Charles and Sam Cooke laid the groundwork, secularising the sanctified with effusive vocal, stirring lyrics and deep rhythmic feeling."
From The Telegraph

"Soul started, in a sense, with the 1961 success of Solomon Burke's "Just Out Of Reach." Ray Charles, of course, had already enjoyed enormous success (also on Atlantic), as had James Brown and Sam Cooke — primarily in a pop vein. Each of these singers, though, could be looked upon as an isolated phenomenon; it was only with the coming together of Burke and Atlantic Records that you could begin to see anything even resembling a movement."
The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (1976)

Trivia/Famous Lyrics

DId you know...

All day long they work so hard till the sun is going down
Working on the highways and byways and wearing, wearing a frown
You hear they moaning their lives away
Then you hear somebody say;
Well don't you know
That's the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang

"Chain Gang" by Sam Cooke

Hush now child and don't you cry
Your folks might understand you by and by
Just move on up towards your destination
Though you may find from time to time complications
Bite your lip and take a trip
Though there may be wet road ahead
And you cannot slip

"Move On Up" by Curtis Mayfield

Artists from this genre

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

The most transcendent artist to come out of the soul genre.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul.

Nina Simone

Nina Simone

The High Priestess of Soul.

Otis Redding

Otis Redding

The King of Soul and Stax Records' greatest icon.

Bill Withers

Bill Withers

Soul music's unassuming everyman.

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield

Revered contributor to gospel, soul, and funk music.

Al Green

Al Green

The Reverend Al

Donny Hathaway

Donny Hathaway

One of the greatest composers and performers of soul ever.

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes

Writer, producer, performer and self-titled "Black Moses."

The O'Jays

The O'Jays

The epitome of Philly Soul.

MORE Genres from this era

Cool & Post-Bop

Cool & Post-Bop

The term covers subgenres like hard bop and free jazz.

Motown

Motown

The sound of young America masterminded by Berry Gordy.

Psychedelic Soul

Psychedelic Soul

Soul gets high.

Rock

Rock

Rock loses the roll but gains amplitude and attitude.