70s Soul Music
70s soul music was a combination of rhythm and blues and gospel.
The combination of electric, as the combination of catch rhythms, easy to sign choruses (in classic gospel style) and intense vocals caught on with audiences throughout America.
Though 70s soul music came out of the black experience of music, it appealed to everyone who loved the rich lyrics, stylish mix and luscious production values of the best in 70s soul music.
The king and queen of the genre were James Brown and Aretha Franklin who helped redefine the style and take it mainstream.
Of course, they weren’t the only ones creating hit after hit of 70s soul music. Willie Mitchell’s Hi Records turned out a string of hits by Al Green, Otis Clay, Ann Peebles and Sly Johnson, names that are synonymous with the origins of soul music in the late 1960s.
In Detroit, Motown was defining the very sound of 70s soul music, thanks to their solid top name soul artists, including Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Otis Redding.
Many of the classics of 70s soul music are still showing up on the Best of - lists decades later.
Few could forget Aretha Franklin’s Respect or Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Both continue to be consistently ranked #1 and #2 in lists of 70s soul music. Otis Redding’s cool song Sittin On the Dock of the Bay is never far behind.
Other groups and artists that are still household names and helped establish the popularity of 70s soul music to wider audiences, include Curtis Mayfield, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, Earth, Wind and Fire, the Isley Brothers and the O’Jays.
These artists paved the way for other groups inspired by 70s soul music, including the Commodores, War, Tower of Power and even Hall & Oates, who brought 70s soul music in to the disco era.
The music often branched off into other styles of 70s music, including the sounds of Sly and the Family Stone who along with James Brown helped define funk.
One of the great things about 70s soul music was that different parts of the country created entirely different sounds.
Though many consider Chicago the birthplace of soul music, New York, Detroit, Memphis and Florence, Alabama all contributed to the style. Many of the biggest names in 70s soul music recorded at Fame Studios in Florence, including Franklin and Percy Sledge.
Today, 70s soul music is just as enjoyable to listen to as when it first hit the scene. It has a contagious quality to it that makes it timeless and every song seems to bring about a memory of where you were and what you were doing when you first heard it.