55 Best Soul Songs Of All Time – Music Grotto

Video Top soul music of all time

Soul music is likely one of the most fascinating and sophisticated genres of the twentieth century. Taking its roots in gospel and jazz, this has gone on to affect the event of reggae, R&B, funk, and rather more. Listed below are the 55 greatest soul songs so as to add to your playlist!

1. Respect — Aretha Franklin

Thought of one among Aretha Franklin’s most well-known songs, “Respect” wasn’t initially written for her. Otis Redding composed it in 1965, with lyrics written from the standpoint of a person chatting with a lady. Franklin’s cowl, recorded two years later, made some important modifications. The consequence was an early feminist anthem the place the singer demanded respect from her man.

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2. Let’s Keep Collectively — Al Inexperienced

Al Inexperienced’s 1972 hit made waves for its sheer sensuality. His vocals are the very definition of soulful. It was one among his first main hits, propelling him into the highlight for the remainder of his profession. It ought to come as no shock that the tune grew to become a traditional dance track for {couples} because of its intimacy and energy.

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3. Dwelling For The Metropolis — Stevie Surprise

Stevie Surprise is not any stranger to fame, having made main inroads within the soul style. “Dwelling For The Metropolis” is in a league of its personal. Launched in 1973, this highly effective track is all about systemic poverty and racial injustice. Surprise tells the story of a black boy rising up in Mississippi earlier than transferring to New York. As an alternative of constructing it huge there, he’s focused by police and sentenced to jail for a criminal offense he didn’t commit.

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4. A Change is Gonna Come — Sam Cooke

“A Change Is Gonna Come” is a quintessential soulful craving, mournful, and uncooked. Sam Cooke’s highly effective vocals are mesmerizing on this 1964 hit, describing the necessity for change in society. He describes how racism has saved him down, making his life stuffed with struggling, however he holds onto the hope that change is on its manner. Tragically, Cooke was killed the identical yr in a brutal assault by a lodge supervisor and by no means lived to see the change he hoped for.

5. This Outdated Coronary heart of Mine (Is Weak For You) — The Isley Brothers

“This Outdated Coronary heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)” is a track that’s all about having your coronary heart damaged and pining for the particular person you misplaced. But, regardless of its tragic lyrics, it’s completely catchy. It simply goes to point out how gifted the Isley Brothers have been—nearly disguising the track’s subject in its sheer danceability. This tune, which was initially meant for The Supremes, was launched in 1966 and fused parts of R&B, soul, and Motown.

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6. Clear Up Lady — Betty Wright

There are numerous soul songs written from the standpoint of a person chatting with a lady or vice versa. However Betty Wright’s 1972 hit is a bit totally different; it speaks from one girl to a different. Each girls have been concerned with the identical man, and the singer is aware of that he’s hassle. The track is a warning to wash up her act earlier than she will get her coronary heart damaged. “Clear Up Lady” is a pleasant fusion of soul and Florida funk.

7. Individuals Get Prepared — The Impressions

The Impressions’ 1965 hit is an ideal instance of the hyperlink between soul and gospel music. These genres got here collectively in a pointed Civil Rights track, urging folks to be able to combat for his or her rights. It grew to become a well-known Civil Rights anthem and was coated by Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and The Chambers Brothers.

8. Who’s Making Love — Johnnie Taylor

Soul music is all concerning the deepest experiences of humankind. However, just like the gospel music that impressed it, it additionally usually carries warnings to individuals who don’t take into account the course of their actions. In 1968’s “Who’s Making Love,” Johnnie Taylor reminds males to not anticipate their girls to remain devoted to them whereas they themselves are out dishonest. He sings: “After I determined to straighten up, I discovered it was a bit too late… Somebody was-a lovin’ my previous girl, Whereas I used to be out making love.”

9. Midnight Prepare to Georgia — Gladys Knight & The Pips

“Midnight Prepare To Georgia” went by means of a number of rewrites earlier than turning into the soul track that we all know and love. It was initially a rustic tune entitled “Midnight Aircraft To Houston.” However the true transformation occurred when Gladys Knight & The Pips recorded it in 1973. Their soulful rendition grew to become broadly often known as their most well-known track and earned a Grammy the next yr. It’s nonetheless identified far and vast as among the best soul songs of all time.

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10. Lean On Me — Invoice Withers

Invoice Withers took soul in a brand new course along with his 1972 hit “Lean On Me.” He introduced a easy, acoustic observe that contrasted with the complicated instrumentals that have been well-liked in soul and R&B music on the time. Listeners discovered it compelling, and the track topped the Billboard Scorching 100 and Soul charts. There’s something hypnotic concerning the track and Withers’ passionate vocals. This would possibly account for the track being named on Rolling Stone’s listing of 500 Biggest Songs of All Time.

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11. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay — Otis Redding

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” is inarguably one among Otis Redding’s most well-known songs. However regardless of its straightforward melody, it’s truly a mournful ballad about feeling lonely, purposeless, and alone. The lyrics embody the traces “…I’ve had nothin’ to dwell for, It appears to be like like nothin’s gonna come my manner… And this loneliness received’t depart me alone.” Redding recorded the track simply three days earlier than he died in a airplane crash in December 1967; it was launched posthumously in January 1968.

12. I Need You — Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye has turn out to be synonymous with sensuality and sultry invites within the type of music. The fame has lengthy outlived him; a 2016 pop hit even took its title from his title, with the repeated line “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on.” His track, “I Need You,” is Gaye at his soulful sexiest. It options heavy percussion within the type of bongos; in the meantime, the lyrics are half declaration, half affirmation of consent.

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13. Transfer On Up — Curtis Mayfield

“Transfer On Up” is a soul track that stands all by itself. Constructive and hopeful, it’s all about wanting towards a troublesome path and having religion you can stroll it with out stumbling. The heavy instrumentalization takes the track to a different stage, and also you won’t even notice that the observe is 9 minutes lengthy. It’s straightforward to get misplaced on this traditional soul track about hope, perseverance, and fortitude.

14. The First Time Ever I Noticed Your Face — Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack wasn’t the primary one to file “The First Time Ever I Noticed Your Face,” however her soulful cowl is the one which lives in our reminiscences. It was initially a folks track, however she effortlessly switched genres, including backing tracks of strings and piano. This poignant love track is managed in each bar however nonetheless stuffed with emotion, protecting listeners spellbound till the final observe.

15. When Any person Loves You Again — Teddy Pendergrass

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Teddy Pendergrass’ 1978 observe is a soulful love track that is still well-liked to this present day. It’s not possible to not be drawn in by his emotional, sultry efficiency, which makes us all lengthy for the form of love he’s describing. The track was surprisingly progressive for the period, describing equal love the place every associate contributes the identical quantity. It was an excellent relationship again within the late Nineteen Seventies, and it nonetheless feels like a fairly whole lot to this present day.

16. Maria (You Had been The Solely One) — Michael Jackson

Lengthy earlier than Michael Jackson was identified for his iconic dance strikes and electrical pop songs, he was exploring genres like soul and R&B within the early Nineteen Seventies. “Maria (You Had been The Solely One)” was launched as a B-side observe in 1972. It’s a traditional soul hit about unrequited love, with the singer pining after a lady named Maria who’s operating away from him. Jackson’s voice sounds extremely younger in comparison with his later performances, but he nails the eagerness and emotion of the track.

17. Stroll On By — Isaac Hayes

Should you love these traditional soul songs that go on for 2 or thrice so long as most tracks, Isaac Hayes’ 1969 “Stroll On By” needs to be in your playlist. This 12-minute observe is a wild journey of vocals dripping with emotion, prolonged instrumental solos, orchestra backing tracks, and Hayes’ signature distinctive vocalizations. By no means has heartbreak sounded so intense or sultry, and it’s certain to go away you captivated up till the final bar.

18. A Lover’s Query — Clyde McPhatter

Should you ever wish to begin a debate amongst hardcore soul followers, ask them who invented the soul style. You’ll in all probability hear the title Clyde McPhatter among the many solutions. He wasn’t a lot part of the rise of soul music as he was a precursor to it. He began his solo profession in 1955 and recorded “A Lover’s Query” in 1958. Launched lengthy earlier than the recognition of Motown, the track has the unmistakable flavors of “proto-soul,” persevering with to affect the style lengthy after McPhatter’s loss of life in 1972.

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19. Pusherman — Curtis Mayfield

“Pusherman” was the herald of soul music’s transformation within the Nineteen Seventies. In the course of the first half of the last decade, the style developed into upbeat music specializing in social and political matters. Soul was additionally fusing and mixing with different genres resembling funk, progressive, and psychedelic. Launched in 1972, “Pusherman” pushed the envelope on what soul really was, specializing in social justice points resembling poverty and drug habit.

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20. Get Prepared — The Temptations

The Temptations have been broadly identified for his or her upbeat group tracks, heat harmonies, and falsetto. However “Get Prepared,” launched in 1966, went in a barely totally different course. The observe makes use of all the group’s typical musical ways however attracts extra closely on the influences of soul and Motown. Like many different soul songs, it interweaves themes of affection and sensuality, bridging genres and sensibilities in a manner that was excellent for the pop-soul scene of the mid-Nineteen Sixties.

21. I Heard it By way of The Grapevine — Marvin Gaye

“I Heard It By way of The Grapevine” is one other observe that contends for Marvin Gaye’s high hit of all time. This infectiously danceable track, launched in 1968, depends on the traditional soul theme of unhappy lyrics delivered in an upbeat tune. It’s truly a few man who has realized by means of gossip that his lover is planning on leaving him for another person. Regardless of its unhappy content material, the catchy beat makes it a preferred alternative for weddings and events.

22. On & On — Erykah Badu

Lengthy after the delivery of the soul style, Erykah Badu was serving to develop the neo-soul subgenre. In 1997, she launched “On & On,” a simple fusion of hip hop, R&B, and soul. It additionally made waves for its use of images based mostly on the teachings of the 5-P.c Nation. The result’s a observe that could be a bit mystical in tone however with plain parts of soul. The track received Badu a Grammy and climbed to the highest of the charts in each the US and the UK.

23. Attempt a Little Tenderness — Otis Redding

Most of Otis Redding’s best-known songs have been self-composed, however “Attempt A Little Tenderness” wasn’t a Redding authentic. In reality, it was first recorded a long time earlier than the delivery of the soul style; Bing Crosby was the primary one to file the observe in 1933. Greater than three a long time later, Redding gave the track a soul makeover, set in opposition to a backing observe of organ music. His model is essentially the most broadly identified, because of his distinctive instrumental association and high-energy vocal efficiency.

24. La-La Means I Love You — The Delfonics

The Delfonics’ 1968 hit is the quintessential sound of Philly soul. That includes complicated harmonies and infectiously glad power, “La-La Means I Love You” is the form of track that will get everybody dancing. It has a throwback really feel to the favored music of the Nineteen Fifties, however with instrumentals and a musical association that’s undeniably soul.

25. Hey Stranger — Barbara Lewis

Barbara Lewis’ 1963 soul hit discovered a distinct segment between ballad and dance hit. It effortlessly fused parts of organ music, doo-wop, and upbeat percussion, making it probably the most distinctive soul tracks of the early Nineteen Sixties. The track is a few girl welcoming her lover residence, and Lewis’ emotional vocal efficiency drips with pleasure and grief.

26. Who’s Lovin’ You — The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5 launched “Who’s Lovin’ You” in 1969, on the top of their ensemble fame. Like most of their songs, the observe showcased their vocal efficiency with complicated harmonies and different parts. Although their cowl is undoubtedly essentially the most well-known, the tune has been coated many occasions, together with by The Supremes and The Temptations.

27. Brown Sugar — D’Angelo

D’Angelo made inroads within the fashionable soul style of the Nineteen Nineties. His 1995 observe “Brown Sugar” is a sultry love track that stood out among the many extra pop-influenced soul tracks of the day. It’s formally categorised as neo-soul, although it attracts heavy influences from jazz and funk, with sturdy instrumentals together with bass and organ.

28. Again to Black — Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse’s profession and life have been minimize tragically quick, however she left a mark on the music trade throughout her time. She was a major participant in bringing the soul style into the twenty first century, and “Again To Black” was one among her greatest. The 2006 track is a heartbreaking ballad a few man leaving his lover for another person.

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29. When a Man Loves a Lady — Percy Sledge

Although the 1991 cowl by Michael Bolton stays well-known to this present day, “When A Man Loves A Lady” was first recorded practically 30 years earlier. Percy Sledge’s 1966 authentic was so influential that it will go on to be coated not simply by Bolton, but in addition by John Wesley Ryles, Bette Midler, and Joe Cocker.

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30. On Broadway — The Drifters

The Drifters have been a lesser-known group that was important within the improvement of soul music within the early Nineteen Sixties. Their 1963 hit “On Broadway” tells the story of an up-and-coming musician who arrives in New York Metropolis hoping to make it huge. As he stares on the lights of Broadway with little to his title, he’s decided to succeed.

31. Hound Canine — Huge Mama Thornton

Elvis Presley’s 1956 cowl is undoubtedly essentially the most well-known model of “Hound Canine,” however 4 years earlier, Huge Mama Thornton had recorded her authentic model. This observe is likely one of the greatest examples of the earliest variations of the soul style. Name it “proto-soul” if you’ll, however it’s straightforward to see how later artists drew inspiration from her excessive emotion and highly effective vocals.

32. The Tracks of my Tears — Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Smokey Robinson was one of many huge gamers of traditional soul, and it isn’t simply the brilliance of his track composition that made him well-known. His vocal performances have been intensely emotional—distinctive within the period of equating manliness with no emotion. “The Tracks Of My Tears,” launched in 1965, is now within the Grammy Corridor of Fame and the Library of Congress.

33. (Your Love Retains Lifting Me) Greater And Greater — Jackie Wilson

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Soul music can do each sort of emotion: heartbreak, rage, craving, loneliness, pleasure, and even dizzying happiness. Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Retains Lifting Me) Greater And Greater” is the right instance of soul music’s means to be infectiously, over-the-moon glad. It’s no marvel that the tune continues to be a preferred alternative for weddings, particularly with its upbeat power and danceable beat. Wilson was a grasp of infusing his efficiency with an genuine pleasure that makes you consider he actually is in love.

34. Be Grateful For What You Obtained — William DeVaughn

As we’ve talked about earlier than, soul music had its roots in gospel music, and it was by no means clearer than in William DeVaughn’s “Be Grateful For What You Obtained.” This 1974 hit expertly discovered a foot in each the soul and gospel genres and was performed on radio stations of each sorts. That is particularly vital because the lyrics make repeated mentions of gangster tradition.

35. I Can’t Stand The Rain — Ann Peebles

Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain” takes you proper into the scene with instrumentals supposed to sound like rain on a windowpane. The track is a singular variation of Memphis soul, and it’s mesmerizing to listen to. Peebles’ model was well-known throughout her time, although lately, Missy Elliott’s later cowl is perhaps extra acquainted.

36. Cease! In The Identify of Love — The Supremes

The Supremes had many hits over time, however their 1965 hit “Cease! In The Identify Of Love” stays one among their best. They delivered this impassioned plea to a roaming lover in a high-energy occasion beat that exemplifies the soul sound of the mid-Nineteen Sixties.

37. Warmth Wave — Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

“Warmth Wave” is a love track concerning the bodily emotions we expertise once we’re in love. The singer jokingly compares feeling heat round her associate with being possessed and even having hypertension. Whereas there are influences from different genres like doo-wop and jazz, the track is quintessential soul at its core.

38. Seven Days Too Lengthy — Chuck Wooden

“Seven Days Too Lengthy” is greatest identified for its cowl by Dexys Midnight Runners. However the authentic model is simply as compelling, carried out within the type of Northern soul. With heavy brass instrumentals and a rhythm that’s harking back to a practice, this hypnotic track will hold you mesmerized.

39. I’ll Be Round — The Spinners

The Spinners’ 1973 track “I’ll Be Round” is an emotional goodbye. To whom? It’s implied that it’s the finish of a romantic relationship, however the reality is we don’t totally know. Though the connection is over, the singer guarantees to nonetheless be round in the event that they’re ever wanted.

40. I’m Nonetheless In Love With You — Al Inexperienced

Who amongst us hasn’t dreamed of listening to these phrases from an ex? Al Inexperienced’s 1972 track is an impassioned plea to a former lover. It wasn’t his most well-known observe, however it stays a beautiful soul observe that’s value placing on any playlist.

41. I Obtained You (I Really feel Good) — James Brown

No listing of soul tracks is full with out James Brown’s “I Obtained You.” The Godfather of Soul, as he was known as, was instrumental within the improvement of soul and funk all through the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. His 1964 observe was extraordinarily well-liked at its launch, however much more wonderful is its persevering with reputation greater than half a century later. The track can also be acknowledged for its heavy brass instrumentals.

42. Soul Man — Sam & Dave

“Soul Man” drew inspiration from Civil Rights protests of the Nineteen Sixties when some African-People would mark their houses with the phrase “soul” to guard them from harm throughout demonstrations. It was famously coated by The Blues Brothers.

43. I Second That Emotion — Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

“I Second That Emotion” is a lovely track combining sturdy emotions with being too proud to specific them. The lyrics describe loving a lady and hoping she returns that love. However, having been susceptible to date, the singer can solely convey himself to say: “Should you received that notion, I second that emotion.”

44. Internal Metropolis Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) — Marvin Gaye

“Internal Metropolis Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” is a cry of frustration for the neglect of the poor and struggling in Nineteen Seventies America. Marvin Gaye and his co-writer have been outraged on the authorities’s refusal to assist the ghettos and inside cities whereas pouring cash into house journey and different packages.

45. Individuals Make The World Go Spherical — The Stylistics

“Individuals Make The World Go Spherical” is a track concerning the fixed wrestle of humankind. The opening of the track mentions rubbish collectors and bus drivers occurring strike for higher wages; the lyrics go on to say that that is the fixed cycle of the entire world, locked in a continuing wrestle.

46. By no means Gonna Give You Up — Barry White

Earlier than it belonged to Rick Astley, “By no means Gonna Give You Up” was the title of a 1973 soul hit by Barry White. The passionate track is a declaration of affection and constancy, with lyrics saying: “You’ve given me rather more than phrases may ever say, And oh, my pricey, I’ll be proper right here till my dying day.”

47. Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone — The Temptations

“Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” is a departure from The Temptations’ extra well-known, upbeat songs. This 1972 tune is a few little one grappling with the feelings of shedding their estranged father, who had by no means been round to look after them.

48. If You’re Prepared (Come Go With Me) — The Staple Singers

Within the early Nineteen Seventies, The Staple Singers have been probably the most influential soul teams within the trade. Throughout this time, they recorded “If You’re Prepared (Come Go With Me),” one among their best hits of all time. The track is a masterful mixture of soul, reggae, and acoustic soul.

49. Onerous Occasions — Child Huey

Child Huey didn’t take pleasure in an extended profession, as he died from a coronary heart assault at simply 26 years previous. He’s greatest remembered for his 1971 track “Onerous Occasions.” It made inroads for its distinctive instrumental tracks, together with flutes, brass, and percussion. However Huey’s vocal efficiency was additionally outstanding, in some way light and stuffed with emotion all on the identical time.

50. Dance To The Music — Sly & The Household Stone

“Dance To The Music” was a singular fusion of sounds from throughout the Nineteen Sixties. The track effortlessly combines parts of early Nineteen Sixties soul with the later influences of punk and pop. It ought to come as no shock, as Sly & The Household Stone was a pacesetter within the improvement of psychedelic funk. The track was inducted into the Grammy Corridor of Fame in 2005.

51. (You Make Me Really feel Like) a Pure Lady — Aretha Franklin

As probably the most well-known singers within the historical past of soul, Aretha Franklin had numerous hits over the course of her profession. However her 1967 hit “(You Make Me Really feel Like) A Pure Lady” must be one among her most well-known and enduring. This upbeat, gospel-inspired soul observe continues to be broadly identified and performed to this present day.

52. Chilly Sweat — James Brown

James Brown’s track “Chilly Sweat” was pretty risque for the late Nineteen Sixties; in reality, it’d even make you blush now! The electrical track is all concerning the bodily attraction between the singer and his lover, and the way when they’re collectively, nothing else issues. Brown’s intense vocal efficiency ups the sensuality till there’s no mistaking his that means.

53. Tainted Love — Gloria Jones

Gloria Jones’ 1976 track incorporates a heavy synth and an unrelenting rhythm. It is perhaps a breakup track, however it isn’t one which’s stuffed with remorse; as a substitute, it’s a litany of the ways in which her lover has poisoned their love. By no means was there a burn like “As soon as I ran to you (I ran), Now I run from you (Now I run).”

54. Wet Evening in Georgia — Brook Benton

“Wet Evening In Georgia” is a kind of easy soul songs that captures a second in time. As you pay attention, you’re feeling drawn into the contemplative temper of the singer and might nearly image the scene. Brook Benton paints a scene of being lonely and much from residence, made even lonelier by being caught out within the rain with nowhere to go.

55. Skinny Line Between Love And Hate — The Persuaders

Within the grand custom of turning a track right into a warning, the 1972 observe from The Persuaders reminds males to deal with their companions properly. The track tells the story of a person who mistreated his spouse by staying out all night time and—it’s implied—being untrue to her. She has lengthy endured his mistreatment, however having reached her restrict, assaults him and places him within the hospital.

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