Five Soul Music Legends

soul music

There is no doubt that soul music has a rich history, and there are many talented soul artists. However, choosing just five is a difficult task. Each has a different history and legacy. Fortunately, we can look back on the lives and works of these artists and recognize some of the most influential ones. These are artists that have had a major impact on the evolution of music.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Louise Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. She was dubbed “Queen of Soul” and twice placed ninth on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.” Her music has sold over 75 million copies worldwide.

Aretha Franklin’s hard-driving sound was a product of a time of deep black consciousness and feeling, and at the height of racial self-determination. Her songs were incredibly powerful, allowing Franklin’s voice to shine through.

James Brown

James Brown was an American singer, dancer, record producer, and bandleader who is considered a founding father of funk music. His music was one of the most influential in the twentieth century. As an artist, Brown helped create a new musical genre that became known as soul music. The music that he created was infused with a variety of African-American influences.

Though most of his ’60s discs were mellow, dramatic ballads, Brown’s career spanned a range of styles. He recorded jazzy instrumentals, showed off his gut-bucket organ stylings, and delved back into the funk sound. He recorded a tribute album, “Thinkin’ About Little Willie John,” and even recorded a jazz-oriented album with the Dee Felice Trio. Both of these albums became major sellers.

Stax/Volt Records

The soul label Stax/Volt Records was founded in 1957 and distributed by Atlantic. During the era, the label produced many iconic artists, and it quickly became synonymous with southern soul. During the 1960s, the label was home to Rufus and Carla Thomas, along with Booker T. & the MGs, which served as the label’s rhythm section. Otis Redding and Sam & Dave also found success on Stax, and their recordings helped define southern soul music.

Booker T & the MGs made their Stax debut in 1965. Their album Walk on Gilded Splinters would later be sampled by Beck. Meanwhile, the Del-Rays, a band from Illinois, cut two singles for Stax, including the funky “Spunky.” Other artists who recorded for Stax were Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett.

Stax/Volt’s influence on soul music

In the early 1970s, Stax/Volt’s influence on the sound of soul music was profound. The label’s most famous artist was Otis Redding, who had a unique raw emotional style and dozens of hit singles. His songs influenced the entire genre, from southern funk to deep soul. He was also a prolific songwriter and was one of the most popular performers in the business.

The band also featured such legendary artists as Booker T. Jones on keyboards and Al Jackson Jr. on drums. Steve Cropper, meanwhile, was the guitar player, and Donald ”Duck” Dunn, on bass. Horn players Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson were also on the line-up. Stax/Volt’s influence on soul music is so strong, that even Wilson Pickett, a newcomer to the industry, came to Memphis hoping that the Memphis magic would rub off on him. In fact, he wrote and recorded “In the Midnight Hour” with Cropper. It was an awe-inspiring experience for the Atlantic Records producer, who marveled at the musicians’ skills.

Aretha Franklin’s “A Natural Woman”

“A Natural Woman” is one of Aretha Franklin’s most iconic songs. It’s about a woman feeling validated by her husband. Franklin’s voice carries the song so well that many people have covered it. The original recording was made in 1967.

The song was a big hit for Aretha Franklin. She recorded it for the Atlantic label, and it peaked at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard R&B charts. In 2015, Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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