|Other names||White soul|
|Cultural origins||1960s, United States|
Blue-eyed soul (also called white soul) is rhythm and blues and soul music performed by white artists. The slang, coined in the mid-1960s, was invoked by music magazines in the 1960s such as Life who used it for the Righteous Brothers (album Soul and Inspiration for Verve Records), Barry McGuire, Sonny & Cher; other times it meant style and mannerisms associated with soul music sung by white musicians. Though many rhythm and blues radio stations in the United States in that period would only play music by black musicians, some began to play music by White acts considered to have "soul feeling" and their music was then described as "blue-eyed soul."
Georgie Woods, a Philadelphia radio DJ, is thought to have coined the term "blue-eyed soul" in 1964, initially to describe The Righteous Brothers, then white artists in general who received airplay on rhythm and blues radio stations.The Righteous Brothers in turn named their 1964 LP Some Blue-Eyed Soul. According to Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, R&B radio stations who played their songs were surprised to find them to be white when they turned up for interviews, and one DJ in Philadelphia (unnamed by Medley but probably Georgie Woods) started saying "Here's my blue-eyed soul brothers", and it became a code to signal to the audience that they were white singers. The popularity of The Righteous Brothers who had a hit with "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" is thought to have started the trend of R&B radio stations to play songs by white artists in the mid-1960s, a more integrative approach that was then popular with their audience. The term blue-eyed soul was then applied to such artists as Sonny & Cher, The Beatles, Tom Jones, Barry McGuire, and Roy Head.
White musicians playing R&B music, however, began before the term blue-eyed soul was coined. For instance, in the early 1960s, one of the rare female blue-eyed soul singers was Timi Yuro, whose vocal delivery and repertoire were influenced by African American singers such as Dinah Washington.
Lonnie Mack's 1963 gospel-infused vocals earned him widespread critical acclaim as a blue-eyed soul singer.Groups such as The Rascals had soul-tinged pop songs, but it was the soulful vocals of Felix Cavaliere that gave them the blue-eyed soul sound. By the mid-1960s, British singers Dusty Springfield, Eric Burdon, and Tom Jones had become leading vocal stars of the emerging style. Other notable UK exponents of blue-eyed soul included The Spencer Davis Group (featuring Steve Winwood), Van Morrison, and archetypal mod band The Small Faces, whose sound was heavily influenced by the Stax label's house band Booker T. & the M.G.'s. Blonde, blue-eyed soul singer Chris Clark became the first white singer to have an R&B hit with "Love's Gone Bad" with Motown Records in 1966. In 1969, Kiki Dee became the first British artist to sign and record with Motown. Some British rock groups of the 1960s—such as the Spencer Davis Group, the Animals, the Rolling Stones ("My Girl"), and the Who ("Heat Wave") —covered Motown and rhythm and blues tracks. In 1967, Jerry Lee Lewis, whose latter days at Sun Records (1961–63) had been characterized by R&B covers, recorded an album for Smash entitled Soul My Way. Delaney and Bonnie (Bramlett) produced the blue-eyed soul album Home on Stax in 1969. Michael Sembello, who left home at age 17 to tour with Stevie Wonder, wrote and performed on numerous blue-eyed soul hits for Wonder, Brian McKnight, David Sanborn, Bill Champlin, and Bobby Caldwell. Todd Rundgren began his career in Woody's Truck Stop, a group based on the model of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
After splitting from Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin formed a new backup group, the Kozmic Blues Band, composed of session musicians like keyboardist Stephen Ryder and saxophonist Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers, as well as former Big Brother and the Holding Company guitarist Sam Andrew and future Full Tilt Boogie Band bassist Brad Campbell. The band was influenced by the Stax-Volt rhythm and blues (R&B) and soul bands of the 1960s, as exemplified by Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays.
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds and the Grass Roots both had successful blue-eyed soul singles; the former with "Don't Pull Your Love" (1971) and the latter with "Two Divided by Love" (1971) and "The Runway" (1972). In 1973, the American band Stories and the Canadian group Skylark had successes with their respective blue-eyed soul singles "Brother Louie" and "Wildflower". In February 1975, Tower of Power became the first white/mixed act to appear on Soul Train . Also in 1975, David Bowie, another early white artist to appear on Soul Train, released Young Americans , a popular blue-eyed soul album which Bowie himself called "plastic soul".It featured the funk-inspired "Fame", which became Bowie's first number-one hit in the US. Hall & Oates' 1975 Silver Album (real title Daryl Hall & John Oates) includes the ballad "Sara Smile", long considered a blue-eyed soul standard. "She's Gone", another soulful hit, was originally released in 1973 but did better as a re-release after "Sara Smile".
Blue eyed soul music's chart success was at its highest when Hall and Oates' singles got heavy airplay on urban contemporary radio, as was the case with "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Kiss on My List", "One on One", "Say It Isn't So", "Adult Education", "Out of Touch", "Method of Modern Love", and "Everytime You Go Away". Most of those singles charted on the R&B and dance charts, including some number-one hits. In 1985, Simply Red released "Holding Back the Years", one of the most successful blue-eyed soul ballads; "Money's Too Tight" and other singles by the group also performed well.
Other successful blue-eyed soul songs of the 1980s include Phil Collins' cover of "You Can't Hurry Love" (1982); Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" (1982), "Time (Clock of the Heart)" (1982) and "Church of the Poison Mind" (1983); Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen" (1983); the Style Council's "Shout to the Top" (1984); Teena Marie's "Lovergirl"(1985); Paul Young's "Every Time You Go Away" (1985); Eurythmics' "Missionary Man" (1986), and Steve Winwood's "Roll with It" (1988). As the decade drew to a close, British artist Lisa Stansfield had considerable success on R&B radio, scoring three number-one R&B hits, the most popular being "All Around the World".
In the mid-1980s, George Michael found some success in the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with hit singles such as "Careless Whisper" and "Everything She Wants"but it was not until he reinvented himself as a white soul singer with the release of his multi-platinum album Faith (1987). The album was notable for entering the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at number one, making it the first album by a white artist to hit the top spot on that chart, mainly due to the gospel-influenced singles that were released from the album, most notably "Father Figure" and "One More Try". In 1989, he racked up three wins in the American Music Awards including Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Album for Faith.
Joss Stone received much acclaim soon after releasing her first album The Soul Sessions in 2003. Scottish musician Paolo Nutini whose first two albums influenced by soul music are certified quintuple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry.
A backlash ensued in the late 1980s as some black people felt that white people were cashing in on the popularity of their music. However, the extent of the backlash was not universally agreed upon. In 1989, Ebony Magazine published an article exploring whether white people were "taking over" R&B. The article featured various members of the music industry, both black and white, who believed collaboration was a unifying force, and there was agreement that the future of R&B was not compromised by the contemporary urban sound. A similar article in Ebony, written in 1999 highlighted conflicting opinions about the "blue-eyed" influence; however, the source of contention was not about the artistic merit of blue-eyed soul, but rather the economic inequality that persisted in American life and within the music industry.
According to scholar Joanna Teresa Demers, the "successors [of Presley] in blue-eyed soul and white funk" embittered poet Gil Scott-Heron as it proved that "blacks were still being victimized by cultural appropriation, making their contributions to American history virtually invisible and inaudible." The "long tradition of white co-optation of black cultural identity" since Elvis amounting to "artistic theft" was, in Scott-Heron's words, "no new thing."
Daryl Hall has described the term "blue-eyed soul" as racist, saying "it assumes I’m coming from the outside. There’s always been that thing in America, where if you’re a white guy and you’re singing or playing in a black idiom, it’s like: ‘Why is he doing that? Is he from the outside, looking in? Is he copying? What’s the point of it?’ C’mon, it's music! It's music."
The Righteous Brothers are an American musical duo originally formed by Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield but now comprising Medley and Bucky Heard. Medley formed the group with Hatfield in 1963. They had first performed together in 1962 in the Los Angeles area as part of a five-member group called the Paramours, and adopted the name The Righteous Brothers when they embarked on their recording career as a duo. Their most active recording period was in the 1960s and '70s, and, after several years inactive as a duo, Hatfield and Medley reunited in 1981 and continued to perform until Hatfield's death in 2003. The music they performed is sometimes dubbed "blue-eyed soul".
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B or R'n'B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.
Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community throughout the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.
Robert Calvin Bland, known professionally as Bobby "Blue" Bland, was an American blues singer.
Sam & Dave were an American soul and R&B duo who performed together from 1961 until 1981. The tenor (higher) voice was Sam Moore and the baritone/tenor (lower) voice was Dave Prater (1937–1988).
Edwin Starr was an American singer and songwriter. Starr was famous for his Norman Whitfield-produced Motown singles of the 1970s, most notably the number-one hit "War".
Ike & Tina Turner were an American musical duo consisting of husband and wife Ike Turner and Tina Turner. From 1960 to 1976, they performed live as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, supported by Ike Turner's band the Kings of Rhythm and backing vocalists called the Ikettes. The Ike & Tina Turner Revue was regarded as "one of the most potent live acts on the R&B circuit".
Arzell J. Hill, known as Z. Z. Hill, was an American blues singer best known for his recordings in the 1970s and early 1980s, including his 1982 album for Malaco Records, Down Home, which stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years. The track "Down Home Blues" has been called the best-known blues song of the 1980s. According to the Texas State Historical Association, Hill "devised a combination of blues and contemporary soul styling and helped to restore the blues to modern black consciousness."
Southern soul is a type of soul music that emerged from the Southern United States. The music originated from a combination of styles, including blues, country, early rock and roll, and a strong gospel influence that emanated from the sounds of Southern black churches. Bass guitar, drums, horn section, and gospel roots vocal are important to soul groove. This rhythmic force made it a strong influence in the rise of funk music. The terms "Deep soul", "Country soul", "Downhome soul" and "Hard soul" have been used synonymously with "Southern soul"p. 18
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" is a song by Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, first recorded in 1964 by the American vocal duo the Righteous Brothers, whose version was also produced by Spector and is cited by some music critics as the ultimate expression and illustration of his Wall of Sound recording technique. The record was a critical and commercial success on its release, reaching number one in early February 1965 in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The single ranked no. 5 in Billboard's year-end Top 100 of 1965 Hot 100 hits – based on combined airplay and sales, and not including three charted weeks in December 1964 – and has entered the UK Top Ten on an unprecedented three occasions.
Lonnie McIntosh, known as Lonnie Mack, was an American singer-guitarist. He performed and recorded in a broad range of popular genres, including roots-rock, blues, R&B, country, gospel, bluegrass, and soul. He was known as a passionate vocalist and is recognized as an influential pioneer of blues-rock music and rock guitar melodic soloing.
The Wham of That Memphis Man is a 1963 album by Lonnie Mack.
"You Send Me" is a song written and originally recorded by American singer Sam Cooke, released as a single in 1957 by Keen Records. Produced by Bumps Blackwell and arranged and conducted by René Hall. The song, Cooke's debut single, was a massive commercial success, becoming a No. 1 hit on both Billboard's Rhythm & Blues Records chart and the Billboard Hot 100.
Malaco Records is an American independent record label based in Jackson, Mississippi, United States, that has been the home of various major blues and gospel acts, such as Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Bland, Mel Waiters, Z. Z. Hill, Denise LaSalle, Latimore, Dorothy Moore, Little Milton, Shirley Brown, Tyrone Davis, Marvin Sease, and the Mississippi Mass Choir. It has received an historic marker issued by the Mississippi Blues Commission to commemorate its important place on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
Roy Hamilton was an American singer. By combining semi-classical technique with traditional black gospel feeling, he brought soul to Great American Songbook singing.
"Turn On Your Love Light" is a rhythm and blues song recorded by Bobby Bland in 1961. It was both an important R&B and pop chart hit for Bland and has become one of his most identifiable songs. A variety of artists have recorded it, including the Grateful Dead, who made it part of their concert repertoire.
The Soul of Ike & Tina Turner is the debut album by Ike & Tina Turner. It was released on the Sue Records in February 1961. The album is noted for containing the duo's debut single "A Fool in Love" and their follow-up singles "I Idolize You" and "I'm Jealous."
British soul, Brit soul, or the British soul invasion, is soul music performed by British artists. Soul has been a major influence on British popular music since the 1960s, and American soul was extremely popular among some youth subcultures, such as mods, skinheads, and the Northern soul movement. In the 1970s, soul gained more mainstream popularity in the UK during the disco era.
British rhythm and blues was a musical movement that developed in the United Kingdom between the late 1950s and the early 1960s, and reached a peak in the mid-1960s. It overlapped with, but was distinct from, the broader British beat and more purist British blues scenes, attempting to emulate the music of American blues and rock and roll pioneers, such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. It often placed greater emphasis on guitars and was often played with greater energy.