Soul Music Series 500

In the sixties, American popular music experienced a transformation as soul music emerged as an influential new genre. Combining gospel elements with rhythm and blues styles to form its unique sound that could cross genre boundaries.

Neo soul is an evolving musical genre that blends 1970s-style vocals with contemporary R&B sounds and hip-hop urban beats to produce a sophisticated sound popular with young artists today.


Motown music was one of the most influential American genres to emerge during the 1950s and 1960s, drawing inspiration from African American gospel and rhythm and blues while also reflecting civil rights activism in popular culture. Motown had an immense effect on American charts by propelling black music forward; additionally it played an integral part in developing soul music which later progressed into funk music genre.

Motown music was distinguished by smooth vocals at its heart. Inspired by jazz and including styles such as twelve-bar blues patterns and doo-wop, this genre appealed to people across race and socioeconomic status; particularly popular among black Americans. Motown’s most successful artists included Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Temptations, Four Tops Mary Wells Smokey Robinson Miracles Sam Cooke Marvin Gaye Tammi Terrell

Motown Records was one of the first major black-owned record labels. Established by Berry Gordy to appeal to people of all races and backgrounds, its Hitsville studio in Detroit produced hit records by some of the greatest musical groups ever to make an appearance on its albums.

Motown music has been an ever-present part of global culture. The songs remain beloved classics across many nations and can often be found featured in films, TV shows, commercials or performed live by some of today’s top selling artists. Motown has even had an impactful effect on contemporary musical trends.

Forever Motown is an all-out tribute to Motown hits that features some of the greatest singers, dancers and songwriters who made those hits famous. Rated amongst its peers as the highest-rated show of its type; fans of soul music should definitely see it for themselves!

This show brings the music of Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Temptations, and The Supremes into one unforgettable musical experience for fans of soul music. A cast of award-winning singers and dancers maintain a rigorous performance schedule – over 325 shows per year are performed! An incredible band includes legendary session musicians Ray Parker Jr., Michael Bearden, Don Was (producer of albums for Bonnie Raitt & BJ the Chicago Kid).

Deep soul

Deep Soul music emerged during the 1950s and 60s. Its origins lie in African-American gospel music and rhythm and blues. Deep soul’s influence became global during the civil rights movement. It influenced rock, pop, R&B and even funk music! Deep soul’s sound featured catchy rhythms with handclaps, hand clapping and vocal interplay–similar to what one might experience at church where many soul artists first experienced singing as part of church services or the power of music itself.

In the 1960s, singers like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin used their songs to spread messages of freedom and equality for all. Echoing the harmonic quality of blues music – such as shouting out phrases like ‘Shouttle back home!’ in Mississippi Delta blues performances – their voices would echo back across time in ways similar to blues shouters from Mississippi Delta; their performance is known today as Southern Soul music even though most recordings occurred south of Mason Dixon line.

Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin were vocal supporters of the Civil Rights Movement. Their music, along with that of Curtis Mayfield and Timmy Thomas was used as an anthem of this cause, inspiring people to fight for their rights while giving voice to their outrage at injustice in society.

Memphis soul was one of many subgenres within soul music that emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s, thanks to Memphis, Tennessee label Stax Records’ distinctive sound, including vocalists placed further back in the mix, vibrant horn sections, great melodies, tambourines, handclaps, hand clapping, interplay between lead singer and backup vocalists, etc.

Deep Soul remains one of the most beloved styles today, drawing from both R&B and gospel influences with an African American sensibility. Originating in black church music, deep soul eventually integrated elements from pop, jazz and funk music before eventually shaping today’s hip-hop music scene.

Quiet storm

Quiet Storm is a radio format and music genre focusing on smooth R&B and soul with a slow jam tempo, originally popular during the 1970s and 80s, but recently enjoying renewed interest. Although first popular during those eras, today it remains a staple on many black urban radio stations as well as popular artists like Babyface, Anthony Hamilton, Erykah Badu Maxwell Toni Braxton among many more. Additionally, Quiet Storm has had significant influences over modern hip hop development.

Melvin Lindsey, a student at Howard University in Washington DC, filled in as a DJ on urban contemporary station WHUR in June 1976 and quickly made an impressionful first impression with his smooth radio voice and knack for programming beautiful black music. Soon thereafter he and Jack Shuler were given their own weeknight show which they named after Smokey Robinson’s 1975 album of the same name “The Quiet Storm”.

Quiet Storm was an alternative to the politically charged music of its era; critics decried its lack of social commentary for inner city blacks; yet African-American listeners welcomed its melodies as background for middle class life – among these artists were Frankie Beverly, James Ingram and Phyllis Hyman; in addition Anita Baker also showcased an idealized notion of simple everyday sophistication with her albums.

Luther Vandross, another Motown star, is widely acclaimed for his contributions to quiet storm soul music. His 1981 album Diamond Life has long been considered one of the best ever produced; not only does it include R&B-influenced hits but it’s packed with heartbreaking ballads that show Vandross’ adept vocal skills as well.

One of the hallmarks of Diamond Life was to demonstrate how male singers could transform soul music, once exclusively the domain of female voices. Vandross’ velvety voice is undeniable yet not in an overly masculine manner like Teddy Pendergrass did; rather he glides through emotional climaxes creating tension through melismas.

Southern soul

The South was home to soul music, with Memphis as its epicenter and to a lesser extent Birmingham, Atlanta and New Orleans also playing important roles. Record labels like Stax (home of Otis Redding and Booker T & the MGs) and Hi Records recruited Black artists from Tennessee, Mississippi Alabama Louisiana in order to craft an signature sound featuring prominent horns Hammond organ and an incessant rhythm section – many were recorded at legendary Alabama studios like FAME Studios Muscle Shoals Sound where house band The Swampers created a dynamic soundscape.

Southern Soul was an amalgam of musical genres including blues, gospel, jump blues and jazz that also incorporated elements from rock. The music featured vocal talents from both Black and white singers; therefore making it more cross-racial and less racially focused than its Northern soul counterpart.

As disco and funk subsided in the early 1980s, soul music began incorporating elements of electro-music for a smoother, less raw sounding style – leading to the rise of neo-soul with artists like Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, and Dru Hill performing it as part of this genre that combined 1970s soul and hip-hop beats with Gospel-influenced vocals for an eclectic sound.

Southern soul is still widely popular today and difficult to define precisely. But one reason may be: musicians are talented, dancers are elegant and the audience never tires of dancing to this genre of music that plays both classic Motown hits as well as current R&B tracks.

Though the film does a solid job depicting the social milieu of Southern soul scene, it fails to cover one key detail. Southern soul wasn’t just music – it was also cultural movement. Young people of both black and white backgrounds came together to form an irreconcilable scene that bridged racial barriers; its music brought culture enrichment across America.