Etta James - At Last
We all remember this song. One of the greatest voices of all time, and one of my all-time favorite female artists. This is a classic, not just in american music history, but in the rich history of soul and R&B music. I cannot imagine that some of you haven't heard this, but if it is the case, then you better check it out.
Enjoy the miss Etta James
Al Greene - Let's Stay Together
I just had to find a spot for Al Greene on the list. Even though I am not his biggest fan, I know how many people appreciate his music, and I have to admit, that Let's Stay Together is a true masterpiece. The song can be found on his 1972 album of the same name. A beautiful voice and amazing vocal technique. There is no doubt, that Al Greene deserves a spot on the list, but I know that some of you out there, would have placed him higher, but that's be cause you haven't seen the rest of the list yet :)!
Let's Stay Together
Sam Cooke - Bring It On Home To Me & A Change Is Gonna Come
A true legend, who unfortunately died at a far too young age. Although, despite his short career, he managed to compose some of the greatest songs in the history of soul music. He was by many seen as one of the founders of the genre, and has been an inspiration for many of the later huge names in the soul and R&B genre.
It was impossible for me to choose just one of his songs, so I'm gonna squeeze in two instead. Please lean back and enjoy the king of soul.
A Change Is Gonna Come
Bring It On home To Me
The Platters - Only You
The Platters, as you probably remember, was a very succesful vocal group formed in the mid 50's. They have created several classics in the R&B genre. Just to mention a few - The Great Pretender, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and of course Only You.
The group has changed the line-up several times, but remain one of the greatest and most groundbreaking vocal groups in the american music history.
Percy Sledge - When a Man Loves a Woman
When a Man Loves a Woman is close to being the definition of a classic. Personally, I'm not too big a fan of neither the song, nor the artist, but I do know how other people feel. A lot of people have very special feelings related to this exact song, and for that reason alone, it deserves a spot on the list.
Even though the one-hit-wonder phenomenon wasn't too widespread in this period, When a Man Loves a Woman, we have to admit, was Sledge's only major hit. But that does not mean it's a bad song, just take a listen and relive all those great moments you've had listening to it.
When a Man Loves a Woman
Otis Redding - Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay
Moving into the top 5, I'm going to bring out the big guns. This is one of my all-time-favorite songs, and there are many other great hits by this fantastic artist. But in my opinion, Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay is just a pinch above the rest, although I do love his other songs, such as Try a Little Tenderness, I've Been Loving You Too Long, These Arms of Mine, and so on...
Otis Redding was a major hit at an early age, but tragically died in a plane crash, only 26 years old. Another reason I've chosen Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay, is because it was recorded just three days before the horrific event, that cost Redding and several members of his backup band, The Bar-Kays, their lives.
Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay
Ray Charles Robinson - What'd I Say
As the nr. 4 on my list, we find yet another legend in the R&B genre. Mr. Ray Charles himself! This particular song has been placed on several top list as one of the greatest songs of all times, and I really cannot disagree with that. A true masterpiece by an incredible artist, who has inspired not just myself, but a lot of other musicians, high as low, known as unknown. Most of you already know a lot about Ray, and therefore I'm not going to waste time writing about his life and successes. Instead I'm going to let you enjoy one of my personal favorite songs.
What'd I Say
The Temptations - My Girl
Of course I haven't forgotten The Temptations! The super-hit My Girl is just indescribable. Is it the perfect composition? I do not know, but it is definitely not far from!
Even though The Temptations were formed in the early 60's, they are still active, and tour the US and Canada year after year. I really wish I was born 50 years earlier, so I could have experienced them in their prime.
Love from Denmark - PLEASE come visit us.
James Brown - Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
This might not be the most popular choice as the nr. 2. But as so many times before, the "Godfather of Soul" will not be taking the first place on the list. James Brown has places as many as 99 hits on the charts, making him one of the most succesful artist of all times. Oddly enough, he has never reached the top 1 on the pop charts, but nonetheless, he was an incredible artist, constantly creating big hits and inspiring musicians all over the world.
It was very hard for me to select the one song that should represent this amazing man. I had to leave out classics, such as I Got You (I Feel Good),It's a Man's Man's Man's World, Get On Up, Living in America and several others.
Although Papa's Got a Brand New Bag is not considered his biggest hit, it is a song that has influenced me, my music and my understanding and appreciation of music more than most others.
Take it away mr. Brown!
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
Marvin Gaye - I Heard it Through the Grapevine
The best song and greatest artist in the history of soul and R&B. Who else could it be? Of course it's Marvin Gaye and I sure hope this doesn't come as a surprise to anybody.
Marvin Gaye was amazing beyond belief with a godsend gift of a vocal, ranging four octaves.The fantastic song, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, was a song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong and a year later recorded by Gladys Knight & the Pips, in which Marvin Gaye was the lead singer. The song later became Marvin Gaye's signature song, although he is also known for a lot of other great R&B songs, such as Let's Get it On, Got to Give it Up, Sexual Healing, What's Going On, Mercy Mercy Me, just to name a few!
This was possibly the easiest decision I had to make, while creating the list. There is no doubt in my mind, that Marvin Gaye deserves this spot more than anyone else on the list. After you've listened to this excellent song just once more, I hope you agree with me.
Go for It Marvin:
I Heard it Through the Grapevine
There were many other great artists I could have put on the list and that I did not put them on, does not mean I don't appreciate them and their music.
So to prove that I have not forgotten you, here's a list of the "almost made it" candidates (in no particular order):
Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Clyde Mcphatter, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Fats Domino, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Dominos, Sly & The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, The Impressions, Curtis Mayfield, Solomon Burke, B.T. Express, Earth, Wind & Fire, Four Tops and of course many, many more!