History of Soul Music

Amy Winehouse, Rolling Stones
Soul music became popular almost by accident. During the 1940's and 1950's Doo Wop music was the "in" thing. Gospel music sung by African-Americans also had a big place in society at that time. These two distinctive types of music merged into Soul. This type of music was well received by blacks and whites alike, and played a big part in the end of segregation. Whites, some of whom were prejudiced and close-minded, began to change their views about blacks. The two cultures started to come together, and it was in part because of the music.

Some of the earliest soul artists were Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and James Brown. Ray Charles, blind since he was a child, made the nation fall in love with him thanks to hits like "Hit the Road, Jack," and "Georgia o­n My Mind." Sam Cooke, who got his start in gospel music in the '50s, was known for hits like "Twistin' the Night Away," and "Another Saturday Night." James Brown, who was doing Soul music before almost anyone else, got famous thanks to hits such as "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," and "Cold Sweat."

George Michael
Although Soul music sounds slightly different than it did back in the day, it is still very much in the forefront. Artists like Whitney Houston, Anita Baker and Aretha Franklin have all done their part to keep Soul music alive. Soul music is also no longer directly related to African-Americans. White artists like Taylor Hicks, George Michael and Amy Winehouse can be considered modern day Soul artists.