The term "soul" (in English, soul music which means "music of the soul") is associated with black American music and appears for the first time in the title of two albums of Ray Charles: Soul Brothers in 1958, and Soul Meeting in 1961.
The development of soul music is stimulated by two main trends: the urbanization of rhythm and blues and the secularization of gospel. It was Ray Charles who mixed his passion for gospel with the jerky rhythms of rhythm and blues to give birth to soul.
So there is part of the sacred emotion in soul mixed with secular themes, often with strong sexual overtones. Soul has its roots in pop, gospel and negro spiritual. Black youth used it as a protest movement to react to the white community and the invasion of rock 'n' roll, whether white or black.
At the end of the 1950s, the desire to offer original black artists to the white public led several labels to seek marketable versions of "black music". The two most influential labels were Stax (near Memphis) and the Tamla Motown in Detroit.
We often oppose them and we talk about southern soul with Stax, closer to the roots (fast and incisive soul), and northern soul, more dancing and more influenced by pop with Tamla Motown. Similarly, in terms of management, Motown - whose slogan "the music of young America" espouses the emancipation wishes of the time - is the first label founded and directed by an American black, the fearsome Berry Gordy.
Conversely, Stax was founded by a white man, Jim Stewart, and many of his most famous studio musicians are also white (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Tom Dowd).
Soul really exploded in the 1960s. Whereas, in a more classic style, the sound of Rick Hal's Muscle Shoals studio and its "house" composers Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham (Muscle Shoals Recording: Aretha Franklin) The Queen of Soul -, Percy Sledg, Wilson Picket, in particular), James Brown and Curtis Mayfield introduce more syncopated rhythms and then give a new orientation to this music.
It was the creation of funk, a style inseparable from soul, which reached its peak in the 1970s and 1980s, with groups like The JB's (the musicians of James Brown), Sly and the Family Stone, Kool and The Ga , followed by Bootsy Collins and George Clinton with their crazy formations (Parliament and Funkadelic): the P-funk.
A sound much more focused on bass and beats, the beginnings of neo soul. In 1966, New York Latinos invented Latin soul, also called boogaloo.
During the 1970s, albums were produced and became classics of the genre (notably What's Going On by Marvin Gaye and Super Fly by Curtis Mayfield), but soul declined in the second part of the decade, disc sales then being dominated. by disco. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, new artists renewed the genre, like Michael Jackson with Off the Wall, Rick James, Roger & Zapp, Prince and Luther Vandross. They definitely popularize soul.
A little later, by sampling the standards of the 1960s and 1970s, rap will contribute to a new popularity of soul music. Some groups will go further and merge soul and rap, to give birth to new jack swing, which became hip-hop, then finally to neo soul in the second part of the 1990s (fusion of organic but hip-hop instrumentation and texts and vocalizations always in the soul spirit) 21. D'Angelo, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, Maxwell and Omar are believed to be behind this movement.
During the 1950s, important innovators such as Clyde McPhatter, Hank Ballard, and Etta James, contributed to the emergence of soul music. Ray Charles is often cited for popularizing the soul genre with hit songs that will start from his album I Got a Woman (1954). Singer Bobby Womack explains that “Ray was a genius. He converted the world to soul music. "
Little Richard (who will inspire Otis Redding) and James Brown are also important contributors to the genre.
Brown is known as "Godfather of Soul" (godfather of soul and Richard calls himself "king of rockin 'and rollin', rhythm and blues soulin", because his music involves elements of these three genres that he quotes.
Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson are also major contributors to the genre.
Tooke will become popular as a singer in the gospel group The Soul Stirrers. His song You Send Me in 1957 propelled his career in pop and his Bring It On Home To Me (1962) is described as "the first likely song to define the experience of Soul. Jackie Wilson, contemporary of Cooke and James Brown , also achieved success with Reet Petite (1957)