History of Soul Music
University of Phoenix
February 11, 2010
Soul music was a voice for blacks during a time of war and segregation, aside of leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.. As stated by a historian Peter Guralnick, “It was as if the rhythm and blues singer, like the jazz musician and professional athlete before him, were being sent out as an advance scout into hostile territory”.
(Santoro,2003). John Ponomarenko says Soul music originated from African Spirituals, “the first references to spiritual songs sung by black slaves dated as far back as 1828-1850”. Black spirituals were often used as work songs and sometimes contained coded information s form of secret communication, songs such as “Deep River, Roll Jordan Roll, and Wade in the Water to name a few. Soul Music began in the late 1950’s and the early 1960’s. Many studios developed in inner cities such as Detroit, Chicago, and Memphis and each had a sound of its own. This also encouraged competition and talent from all over the world.
Soul music came at a time of the civil rights movement and gave all blacks a voice for their many battles within their neighborhoods and overseas as well. The staggering war on segregation was a major driving force for soul music during that time. The events in the Deep South inspired many musicians, for example; seeing black protestors hosed down in the streets with fire hydrants and beaten repeatedly with clubs as if their voices were lethal weapons.
Soul music was originated in the United States primarily by African American musicians starting with the blending of gospel, rhythm, and blues. Gospel sounds and Christianity were far from the sounds of Ray Charles and James Brown singing of love, women, and good...
References: Ponomarenko, J. (2005, August) retrieved from
Peiro Scaruffi. (2005). A brief history of soul music. Retrieved from http://www.scaruffi.com/history/soul.html
Santoro, G. (2003). Sweet Soul Music. Retrieved from University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
Ponomarenko, J. (2005). The history of Soul. Retrieved from
Unterberger, R. (2010). The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Retrieved from
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