Top 5 Soulful Songs
If James Brown is “Soul Brother #1” and Otis Redding is “The King of Soul,” a strong argument can be made that Macon Georgia was the birthplace of this genre and at the very least the Soul sound was heavily influenced in Macon. Review this TOP 5 list of Most Soulful songs of all time to see if you hear the Macon influence.
This Top 5 List was created by our Guest Gatekeeper, Ben Sandifer. Read more about Ben Here
#1. Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding
This may be the best record that truly defines soul music. Otis took a 1932 song, first recorded by the Ray Noble Orchestra, and made it his own in 1966. The way it starts as an easy ballad and builds to a climax demonstrates the genius of Otis Redding. From “Live In Europe” to “Monterey,” the live recordings of this song are spectacular, but the original studio recording, even minus a live audience, is equally soulful.
#2. When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge
Another great soul ballad that builds as it moves along. An incredible vocal performance, a gospel-influenced organ, just enough guitar fills and the entrance of the Muscle Shoals horns at the right spot, all worked together to take Percy’s first hit record to the top of the soul and pop charts in 1966.
#3. Please, Please, Please by James Brown
The routine associated with this song, where the hardest-working man in show business drops to his knees and is eventually caped and led off the stage, is all the reason we need to put this song on our list. Since the 1956 demo for this song, recorded in the studio of WIBB, led to a contract and long career in the business, it put James Brown and Macon, Georgia on the music map.
#4. Respect by Aretha Franklin – written by Otis Redding
The version by the “Queen of Soul” does not even sound like the same song, as originally recorded by Otis. A combination of the R-E-S-P-E-C-T breakdown, the rapid-fire “sock it to me” from the background singers and the tenor sax solo by the legendary King Curtis, took this song to the top and made it Aretha’s signature song.
#5. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by the Righteous Brothers
in the early 60’s legendary DJ John R. from WLAC, Nashville coined the phrase “blue-eyed soul,” to define those white artists who could perform soul and r&b music. Some radio stations catering to the African-American population also included some of these artists on their playlists. Another song that builds to a frenzy, even Phil Spector’s legendary “wall-of-sound” couldn’t cover up the great call-and-response vocal work of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield