Soul: you can’t define it, but you know it when you hear it. The music emerged in the 50s thanks to pioneering artists such as Little Willie John, Ray Charles and Clyde McPhatter. Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke cemented it, and it rose to prominence – dominance, even – in the following decade, and has been with us ever since. One of the most innovative styles of Black music in the 60s and 70s, it can make you dance or make you weep. It can touch your heart or move your hips. It provides a route for singers to download their emotions directly to your mind. A song once claimed, “All God’s children got soul,” but some got more of it than others. Here, then, are the best soul singers from the music’s golden era.
Best Soul Singers: 10 Must-Hear Voices From Soul Music’s Golden Era
10: Sam & Dave (Sam Moore, 1935- present; Dave Prater, 1937-1988)
Two for the price of one, Sam & Dave were the greatest soul-singing duo of the 60s, cutting hit after hit in the middle of the decade. Also superb dancers, their show justified the epithet “Double Dynamite”, the title of one of their albums. However, Both Sam Moore and Dave Prater were gifted singers, and Moore in particular had a voice that could break your heart on slower material than their foundational funkier stuff. Emotive, open-hearted and exciting, their peak period was just a few years, but they really had it goin’ on.
Must hear: Soul Sister, Brown Sugar