A report on Soul music and Ray Charles

Al Green (1973), one of the genre's major pioneering artists
Charles in the 1960s
Ray Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles
Charles in 1968
James Brown was known as the "Godfather of Soul"
Charles in 1971
Sam Cooke is acknowledged as one of soul music's "forefathers".
Charles meeting with President Richard Nixon, 1972 (photo by Oliver F. Atkins)
Solomon Burke recorded for Atlantic in the 1960s
Charles at the 2003 Montreal International Jazz Festival, one of his last public performances
Aretha Franklin is widely known as the "Queen of Soul"
Quincy Jones worked with Ray Charles.
Marvin Gaye shifted to a soul sound with his 1971 hit "What's Going On"
Star honoring Charles on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard
Levi Stubbs singing lead with the Four Tops in 1966
Statue by Andy Davis in Ray Charles Plaza in Albany, Georgia
Soul singer Otis Redding was an electrifying stage presence
Isaac Hayes performing in 1973
Adele performing in 2016

Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records.

- Ray Charles

Ray Charles is often cited as popularizing the soul music genre with his series of hits, starting with 1954's "I Got a Woman".

- Soul music
Al Green (1973), one of the genre's major pioneering artists

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Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946

Rhythm and blues

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Genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s.

Genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s.

Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946
The habanera rhythm shown as tresillo (lower notes) with the backbeat (upper note)
Fats Domino in 1956
Piano excerpt from the rumba boogie "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (1949) by Professor Longhair. 2–3 claves are written above for rhythmic reference.
3–2 clave written in two measures in cut-time
Tresillo answered by the backbeat, the essence of clave in African American music
Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley beat" is a clave-based motif.
Ray Charles in 1971
Ruth Brown was known as the "Queen of R&B"
Della Reese
Sam Cooke
Eric Burdon & the Animals (1964)

Starting in the mid-1950s, after this style of music contributed to the development of rock and roll, the term "R&B" became used to refer to music styles that developed from and incorporated electric blues, as well as gospel and soul music.

He also cites Otis Rush, Ike Turner and Ray Charles, as R&B artists who employed this feel.

Atlantic Records

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American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson.

American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson.

Atlantic Records logo from its inception in 1947 to 1966 (it was still used on 7" single releases), used again from 1979 to 1981 and 2004 to 2015.
Atlantic logo used from 1966 to 2005. It was revived in 2015.
"Weird Al" Yankovic edits Atlantic Records' Wikipedia page to read "YOU SUCK!" in the music video for the song "White & Nerdy"

Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding.

I Got a Woman

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"I Got a Woman" (originally titled "I've Got a Woman") is a song co-written and recorded by American R&B and soul musician Ray Charles.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Museum and hall of fame located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States, on the shore of Lake Erie.

Museum and hall of fame located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States, on the shore of Lake Erie.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, showing Lake Erie in the foreground
The museum's New York City Annex (2008–2010) on Mercer Street, Soho
English guitarist, singer, and songwriter Eric Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio November 2015

There are exhibits about soul music, the Fifties, Sun Records, hip hop music, Cleveland's rock and roll legacy, the music of the Midwest, rock and roll radio and dee-jays, and the many protests against rock and roll.

It featured clothing from Buddy Holly to Alice Cooper, from Ray Charles to David Bowie and from Smokey Robinson to Sly Stone.

Cooke in 1963

Sam Cooke

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American singer and songwriter.

American singer and songwriter.

Cooke in 1963
Cooke in Billboard, 1965, released posthumously
Grave of Sam Cooke in the Garden of Honor at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California

Considered to be a pioneer and one of the most influential soul artists of all time, Cooke is commonly referred to as the "King of Soul" for his distinctive vocals, notable contributions to the genre and significance in popular music.

The other headliners were Little Willie John, Ray Charles, Ernie Freeman, and Bo Rhambo.

Wonder in 1994

Stevie Wonder

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Wonder in 1994
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Wonder performing in 1973, during the early years of his "classic period"
Wonder backstage at the 1990 Grammy Awards
Wonder in 2006
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Wonder receiving a standing ovation in the East Room of the White House in 2011

Stevland Hardaway Morris ( Judkins; May 13, 1950), known professionally as Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, who is credited as a pioneer and influence by musicians across a range of genres that include rhythm and blues, pop, soul, gospel, funk and jazz.

Mainly covers of Ray Charles's songs, the album included a Wonder and Paul composition, "Sunset".

Winwood in 2009

Steve Winwood

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English professional musician and songwriter whose genres include blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock and pop rock.

English professional musician and songwriter whose genres include blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock and pop rock.

Winwood in 2009
Winwood on organ with Spencer Davis Group (Amsterdam, 1966)
Winwood with Traffic
Winwood in Knoxville, Tennessee (2005)
The Steve Winwood Band in 2009 on tour
Winwood at the Hangout Music Festival, May 2012

Though primarily a keyboard player and vocalist prominent for his distinctive, soulful high tenor voice, Winwood plays other instruments proficiently, including drums, mandolin, guitars, bass and saxophone.

Winwood modelled his singing after Ray Charles.

Hitsville U.S.A., Motown's former studio-headquarters and now museum, with photos of Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder in the window display

Progressive soul

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Hitsville U.S.A., Motown's former studio-headquarters and now museum, with photos of Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder in the window display
Wonder (shown in 1973) recorded a series of innovative prog-soul albums in the 1970s.
Isaac Hayes (1973), another singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist in the genre
Maurice White, frontman for Earth, Wind & Fire, 1975
The P-Funk Mothership, preserved at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Bilal, a progressive soul singer-songwriter, in 2008
Janelle Monáe (2016), noted for her multi-genre, Afrofuturist works

Progressive soul (often shortened to prog-soul; also called black prog, black rock, and progressive R&B) is a type of African-American music that uses a progressive approach, particularly in the context of the soul and funk genres.

The music academic Bill Martin traces the origins of progressive soul to Motown as well as Ray Charles and James Brown, whose recordings altogether span as early as the 1950s, while the jazz writer Rob Backus cites an early example in the Impressions' 1964 song "Keep On Pushing".