Music Soul to Soul

Soul music is a genre of popular music characterized by catchy beats and powerful vocals. Curtis Mayfield created politically conscious lyrics and engaging rhythms on his album for Super Fly movie soundtrack.

Detroit-based Motown Records famously produced artists who combined doo-wop melodies with polished production techniques. Meanwhile in Memphis-based Stax Records recruited Black musicians who then created sounds utilizing prominent horns and Hammond organ.

Sam & Dave

Sam & Dave were one of the most successful black rhythm and blues duos of the 1960s, known by various names such as “Double Dynamite,” “The Sultans of Sweat,” and “The Dynamic Duo.” With gospel-influenced music and an electrifying stage show that inspired popular artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, and the Blues Brothers among many others – becoming inductees into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 as well as receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at GRAMMYs 2019. Although their relationship ended after splitting in 1970 Sam Moore continued touring while Prater died tragically from car accident in 1988 while Moore continues touring.

Once formed in Florida in 1961, Atlantic Records signed them in 1965, persuading their Memphis affiliate Stax Records to produce them, and soon enough the duo was making headlines as one of its main acts. Working alongside such producers as Isaac Hayes and David Porter as well as Booker T & the M.G.’s house band Booker T & the M.G.s, their sound became synonymous with Memphis Sound. Their hits included Top Ten R&B hit “You Don’t Know Like I Know” while pop hits “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Comin'”.

After leaving Stax Records, Sam & Dave enjoyed some moderate success with releases for Roulette Records and an album produced by King Curtis. By the early 70s however, Prater began recording solo albums while Moore collaborated on blues revival groups such as Sha Na Na.

In 1974, Sam & Dave reunited to record an album of new material for United Artists entitled Back at Cha – which featured the MGs – was a minor success and earned them some added fame through 1978 hit single “Come On, Come Over” by Jaco Pastorius which was written by them alongside Steve Cropper and Allen Toussaint. They continued touring through much of this decade despite experiencing difficulties within the studio setting – becoming major concert draws while doing so.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin stands as one of the greats in soul music, her unrivaled voice bringing deep emotional depth and power to every song she sang, leaving an impactful legacy behind. On Thursday at age 76 she passed away, so Robin Young and Lisa Mullins celebrated her life and music with some of her greatest hits and discussed what their impact meant for black Americans.

Aretha Louise Franklin was born into a Baptist family in Detroit, Michigan. Her father Reverend C.L. Franklin served as pastor at New Bethel Baptist Church and civil rights activist renowned for giving speeches across the country. Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward would often visit him in his home while secular jazz musicians like Dinah Washington also paid them visits.

Aretha was 14 when she recorded her debut gospel album, Songs of Faith. Yet her heroes went beyond church performance; secular artists who could successfully bridge gospel and pop such as Sam Cooke and Dinah Washington also held great appeal for Aretha; in particular Cooke left an indelible impression: his voice could range from gentle one moment, then swing out the next moment into electrifying force, which later inspired Aretha: “That was exactly what I wanted to achieve!”

As soon as Motown founder Berry Gordy and his record company approached Aretha with an offer, she agreed. For some years she stayed with Motown racking up hits and touring to audiences eager to witness this newly discovered black female force; then in 1967 she switched over to Atlantic Records run by Ahmet Ertegun who appreciated both blues and R&B genres.

At Atlantic, Aretha found her voice. Songs she recorded there such as Baby I Love You and Chain of Fools rose quickly up the charts. Amazing Grace was released live with choir from New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles that remains one of the best-selling gospel albums ever. As time progressed and critically acclaimed grew exponentially – to such an extent that Aretha stood in for Luciano Pavarotti at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration and received both a Kennedy Center Honor as well as Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award!

Stevie Wonder

Stevland Hardaway Judkins III, commonly known as Stevie Wonder, was born six weeks premature with retinopathy of prematurity (retinoblastoma). From an early age he displayed remarkable musical talent, learning harmonica, piano and drums before turning 10. By age 10, he sang in gospel choirs and started writing songs. Berry Gordy of Motown Records signed him as both singer and songwriter.

Wonder, known for his solo and Motown label work with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles during the 1960s, became one of the premier songwriters in popular music during this era. By the 1970s he had begun to explore new sounds and styles by creating multi-track albums containing innovative sounds and styles.

By 1975’s Songs in the Key of Life release, Stevie Wonder had reached his creative zenith. Sonically, he pioneered R&B with groundbreaking funk and jazz influences while pushing forward cultural tenets associated with Black musical expression while conveying universality and spirituality through music.

As an activist and advocate, he campaigned for social change while leading the charge to make Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a federal holiday in the US. Through music and activism he has left behind an iconic legacy renowned worldwide.

Readers will become immersed in the classic songs associated with Wonder’s name in this book. No matter if they are newcomers to his music or longtime followers, this book will capture them with its vivid storytelling and informative chapters that shed light on his legacy as an artist. They will experience first-hand his timeless classics and gain insight into themes which define his songs.

The Temptations

In the 1960s and 1970s, few groups captured the spirit of soul music quite like The Temptations. Their distinctive harmonies, onstage choreography, and sharply tailored suits made them icons of American pop culture; furthermore they were inducted into Vocal Group Hall of Fame while selling millions of albums.

The Temptations were formed in 1961 through the union of two Detroit groups, The Primes and Distants, who came together through their merger. At its inception, it consisted of Elbridge Bryant, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin and others before signing to Motown’s Miracle label and recording “The Way You Do the Things You Do” as their debut hit single in 1964. Dennis Edwards became their lead singer later on – his presence marked an evolution in sound, style and image for this iconic group.

Edwards helped the Temptations take on a more funk-influenced sound that was inspired by Sly & the Family Stone and Funkadelic bands like Sly & the Family Stone; its first appearance was with Top 10 single “Cloud Nine”, debuting that year as an abrupt shift away from their earlier ballads and yielding numerous hits during that period, in addition to numerous appearances on shows like The Ed Sullivan Show.

After several years, however, their output began to diminish as members argued among themselves and Eddie Kendricks left due to feeling that other members weren’t pulling their weight and the company was cheating the band out of money.

In 1976, Motown released The Temptations and signed them to Atlantic Records instead. While they released singles for Atlantic before disbanding again in 1979 – and signing back up with Motown. Their album Surface Thrills marked an abrupt break with their traditional sound in favor of more current rock styles.

In the 1980s and 90s, The Temptations continued their touring and recording career while also inspiring several imitators in dance, R&B, soul genres – namely groups like Trammps, Tavares, Manhattans, Spinners Delfonics Daryl Hall & John Oates (in which case their story served as inspiration for Ain’t Too Proud which won a Tony Award).