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Soul Music History

Combining the elements of gospel music, rhythm and blues the music genre called soul music originated in the United States. Soul music was born as a result of the boom of race music which created channels and infrastructures organised by black entrepreneurs.

The aim of these entrepreneurs was to arrange and train musicians, producers and songwriters for serving the needs of black music. One of the main reasons behind the success of soul music is that the white folks were ready in turning the gospel music into a secular form of art. It was indeed a great achievement when the white accepted black music.

It is believed that soul music became popular by accident and the earlier artists who made the genre of soul possible were Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and James Brown. Ray's 'Hit the Road, Jack' and 'Georgia on my mind' topped the charts of the nation.

Cooke's started with gospel in 1950 and later created hits like 'Another Saturday night', 'Twisting the night away' etc. It was 'Cold sweat' and 'Papa's got a new bag' which took James to heights.

Detroit or the Motown soul, a sub-genre of soul music was rhythmic and mostly included hand clapping. The instruments of Detroit soul were violin, bells and the bass line. It was the Motown soul which gave birth to the band of Funk brothers.

A driving, forceful soul style which absorbed the elements of R & B and the gospel of southern united states soon created waves in the charts. It was called the Deep soul and the southern soul.

During the period between the 1960s and the 70s soul music was created at the Stax Records and the Hi records in Memphis, Tennessee. This soul which gifted the people of Memphis melodic and melancholic organ, horn, bass and drums came to be known as Memphis soul.

Artists such as Little Richard, Fats Domino and Huey Piano Smith contributed towards funk music and this planted the seeds for the evolution of New Orleans Soul. The works of Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Jessie Hill, Kris Kenner, Ernie etc also played a vital role in the development of New Orleans soul.

The sub genre Northern soul was named by a music journalist to describe a popular and specific type of soul music which ruled the clubs of Northern England in 1970.

The guitar, bass, piano, organ, drums, horns and keyboard were the instruments with which soul music expanded by creating its sub genres such as Chicago soul, Philadelphia soul, Nu jazz and soulful electronic, Northern soul and modern soul, Psychedelic soul, blue-eyed soul, British soul and Neo soul.

Article about: History of Soul music

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