Soul music originated in the USA in the 50s and early 60s. It became popular for listening
and dancing due to the harmonious combination of rhythm and blues, gospel music, and jazz.
If you will download soul music, you will see that it sounds like a funky and rhythmical
transformation of gospel and blues with improvisational elements, auxiliary sounds, catchy
rhythms, twirls, and hand claps. The other important feature is complementing of chorus and
soloist. African-American artists used the term soul to emphasize the feeling of being African-
American in the United States of America.
Ray Charles is often mentioned among the most important innovators of soul music in the
50s. Usually his name is cited along with such artists like Hank Ballard, Etta James and Clyde
McPhatter. Charles is known as a popularizer of soul genre due to his composition “I Got a
The music of James Brown and Little Richard was equally popular and influential. Brown
was known for his explosive spirit and energy. His songs “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (1965),
“Please, Please, Please”(1961), “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”(1966), “I Feel Good”(1964), and
many other are tremendously important for the entire history of pop-music. In turn, Little Richard
embodied elements of rhythm and blues, rock’n’roll and soul in his music. His tracks “Good Golly
Miss Molly” (1956), “Ready Teddy”(1956), “Rip It Up” (1957), “Lucille” (1958), “Keep a
Knockin’” (1958) and other hits inspired a great number of future musicians in different genres.
Modern soul has a richer and more complex sound, however it is still linked to its roots.
Contemporary soul is also associated with dance and clothing styles, that refer to the Disco era. It is
implemented by such notable artists as Anastacia, Leroy Hutson, Sam Dees and others.