Cultural Origins.... Late 1950s & Early 1960s, Southern United States
Stylistic Origins.... Rhythm & Blues, Gospel, Doo-Wop, Jazz, Memphis Soul, New Orleans Soul
Sub-Genres & International Influence..... Soul, Southern Soul, Deep Southern Soul, Northern Soul, Memphis Soul, Chicago Soul, Traditional Soul, Neo Soul, Soul blues, Southern Soul Blues, Soul Christmas, Deep Soul House, Funk, R&B, Motown, Modern Downshift, Funk Rock, Disco, Lounge, Rockabilly, Post-Disco, Beach Music, Rock & Roll, Quiet Storm, Urban Contemporary, Bubblegum Pop, Adult Standards, New Jack Swing, New Orleans Blues, Forro, Brill Building Pop, Deep Funk, Desi, Memphis Blues, Folk Rock, Classic Funk Rock Jazz, Blues, Neo Soul-Jazz, Swamp Pop, Jazz Funk, Modern Blues, Vapor Soul, Vocal House, Indie R&B, Indian Pop, Rio De La Plata, Aussietronica, Deep Swedish Rock
Hall of Fame..... Stax Museum of America Soul Music Memphis, TN.
Soul music (often referred to simply as soul) is a popular music genre that originated in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States; where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential in the civil rights era. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.
According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying". Catchy rhythms, stressed by hand claps and extemporaneous body moves, are an important feature of soul music. Other characteristics are a call and response between the lead vocalist and the chorus and an especially tense vocal sound. The style also occasionally uses improvisational additions, twirls and auxiliary sounds. Soul music reflected the African-American identity and it stressed the importance of an African-American culture. The new-found African-American consciousness led to new styles of music, which boasted pride in being black.
Soul music dominated the U.S. R&B chart in the 1960s, and many recordings crossed over into the pop charts in the U.S., Britain and elsewhere. By 1968, the soul music genre had begun to splinter. Some soul artists developed funk music, while other singers and groups developed slicker, more sophisticated, and in some cases more politically conscious varieties. By the early 1970s, soul music had been influenced by psychedelic rock and other genres, leading to psychedelic soul. The United States saw the development of Neo soul around 1994. There are also several other sub-genres and offshoots of soul music.
The key sub-genres of soul include the Detroit (Motown) style, a rhythmic music influenced by gospel; deep soul and southern soul, driving, energetic soul styles combining R&B with southern gospel music sounds; Memphis soul, a shimmering, sultry style; New Orleans soul, which came out of the rhythm and blues style; Chicago soul, a lighter gospel-influenced sound; Philadelphia soul, a lush orchestral sound with doo-wop inspired vocals; Psychedelic soul, a blend of psychedelic rock and soul music; as well as categories such as Blue-eyed soul, which is soul music performed by white artists; British soul; and Northern soul, rare soul music played by DJs at nightclubs in Northern England.
Soul music has its roots in traditional African-American gospel music and rhythm and blues, and the hybridization of their respective religious and secular styles, in both lyrical content and instrumentation, that began to occur in the 1950s. The term soul had been used among African-American musicians to emphasize the feeling of being an African-American in the United States. According to musicologist Barry Hansen:
Though this hybrid produced a clutch of hits in the R&B market in the early 1950s, only the most adventurous white fans felt its impact at the time; the rest had to wait for the coming of soul music in the 1960s to feel the rush of rock and roll sung gospel-style.
According to another source, "Soul music was the result of the urbanization and commercialization of rhythm and blues in the '60s." The phrase "soul music" itself, referring to gospel-style music with secular lyrics, is first attested in 1961. The term 'soul' in African-American parlance has connotations of African-American pride and culture. Gospel groups in the 1940s and 1950s occasionally used the term as part of their name. The jazz style that derived from gospel came to be called soul jazz. As singers and arrangers began using techniques from gospel and soul jazz in African-American popular music during the 1960s, soul music gradually functioned as an umbrella term for the African-American popular music at the time.
Important innovators whose recordings in the 1950s contributed to the emergence of soul music included Clyde McPhatter, Hank Ballard, and Etta James. Ray Charles is often cited as popularizing the soul genre with his string of hits starting with 1954's "I Got a Woman". Singer Bobby Womack said: "Ray was the genius. He turned the world onto soul music." Charles was open in acknowledging the influence of Pilgrim Travelers vocalist Jesse Whitaker on his singing style.
Little Richard (who inspired Otis Redding) and James Brown were equally influential. Brown was known as the "Godfather of Soul" and Richard proclaimed himself the "king of rockin' and rollin', rhythm and blues soulin'", because his music embodied elements of all three, and because he inspired artists in all three genres.
Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson are also often acknowledged as soul forefathers. Cooke became popular as the lead singer of gospel group The Soul Stirrers, before controversially moving into secular music. His recording of "You Send Me" in 1957 launched a successful pop career, and his 1962 recording of "Bring It On Home To Me" has been described as "perhaps the first record to define the soul experience". Jackie Wilson, a contemporary of both Cooke and James Brown, also achieved crossover success in 1957 with "Reet Petite", and was particularly influential for his dramatic delivery and performances.
Writer Peter Guralnick is among those to identify Solomon Burke as a key figure in the emergence of soul music, and Atlantic Records as the key record label. Burke's early 1960s songs, including "Cry to Me", "Just Out of Reach" and "Down in the Valley" are considered classics of the genre. Guralnick wrote:
"Soul started, in a sense, with the 1961 success of Solomon Burke's "Just Out Of Reach". Ray Charles, of course, had already enjoyed enormous success (also on Atlantic), as had James Brown and Sam Cooke — primarily in a pop vein. Each of these singers, though, could be looked upon as an isolated phenomenon; it was only with the coming together of Burke and Atlantic Records that you could begin to see anything even resembling a movement."
Ben E. King also achieved success in 1961 with "Stand By Me", a song directly based on a gospel hymn. By the mid-1960s, the initial successes of Burke, King and others had been surpassed by new soul singers, including Stax artists such as Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett, who mainly recorded in Memphis, Tennessee, and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. According to Jon Landau:
"Between 1962 and 1964 Redding recorded a series of soul ballads characterized by unabashedly sentimental lyrics usually begging forgiveness or asking a girlfriend to come home.... He soon became known as "Mr. Pitiful" and earned a reputation as the leading performer of soul ballads."
The most important female soul singer to emerge was Aretha Franklin, originally a gospel singer who began to make secular recordings in 1960 but whose career was later revitalized by her recordings for Atlantic. Her 1967 recordings, such as "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", "Respect" (originally sung by Otis Redding), and "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" (written by Chips Moman and Dan Penn), were significant and commercially successful productions.
Soul music dominated the U.S. African-American music charts in the 1960s, and many recordings crossed over into the pop charts in the U.S. Otis Redding was a huge success at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. The genre also became highly popular in the UK, where many leading acts toured in the late 1960s. "Soul" became an umbrella term, used to describe an increasingly wide variety of R&B based music styles from the dance and pop-oriented acts at Motown Records in Detroit, such as The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, to "deep soul" performers such as Percy Sledge and James Carr. Different regions and cities within the U.S., including New York City, Detroit, Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Muscle Shoals, Alabama (the home of FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios) became noted for different sub-genres of the music and recording styles.
By 1968, while at its peak of popularity, soul began to fragment into disparate sub-genres Artists such as James Brown and Sly & the Family Stone evolved into funk music, while other singers such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Al Green developed slicker, more sophisticated and in some cases more politically conscious varieties of the genre. However, soul music continued to evolve, informing most subsequent forms of R&B from the 1970s-onward, with pockets of musicians continuing to perform in traditional soul style.
Later examples of soul music include recordings by The Staple Singers (such as I'll Take You There), and Al Green's 1970s recordings, done at Willie Mitchell's' Royal Recording in Memphis. Mitchell's Hi Records continued in the Stax tradition of the previous decade, releasing a string of hits by Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, O.V. Wright and Syl Johnson. Bobby Womack, who recorded with Chips Moman in the late 1960s, continued to produce soul recordings in the 1970s and 1980s.
In Detroit, producer Don Davis worked with Stax artists such as Johnnie Taylor and The Dramatics. Early 1970s recordings by The Detroit Emeralds, such as Do Me Right, are a link between soul and the later disco style. Motown Records artists such as Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson contributed to the evolution of soul music, although their recordings were considered more in a pop music vein than those of Redding, Franklin and Carr. Although stylistically different from classic soul music, recordings by Chicago-based artists are often considered part of the genre.
By the early 1970s, soul music had been influenced by psychedelic rock and other genres. The social and political ferment of the times inspired artists like Gaye and Curtis Mayfield to release album-length statements with hard-hitting social commentary. Artists like James Brown led soul towards funk music, which became typified by 1970s bands like Parliament-Funkadelic and The Meters. More versatile groups such as War, the Commodores, and Earth, Wind and Fire became popular around this time. During the 1970s, some slick and commercial blue-eyed soul acts like Philadelphia's Hall & Oates and Oakland's Tower of Power achieved mainstream success, as did a new generation of street-corner harmony or "city-soul" groups such as The Delfonics and the historically black Howard University's Unifics.
The syndicated music/dance variety television series Soul Train, hosted by Chicago native Don Cornelius, debuted in 1971. The show provided an outlet for soul music for several decades, also spawning a franchise that saw the creation of a record label (Soul Train Records) that distributed music by The Whispers, Carrie Lucas, and an up-and-coming group known as Shalamar. Numerous disputes led to Cornelius spinning off the record label to his talent booker, Dick Griffey, who transformed the label into Solar Records, itself a prominent soul music label throughout the 1980s. The TV series continued to air until 2006, although other predominantly African-American music genres such as hip-hop began overshadowing soul on the show beginning in the 1980s.
As disco and funk were dominating the charts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, soul went in the direction of quiet storm. With its relaxed tempos and soft melodies, quiet storm soul took influences from soft rock and adult contemporary. Many funk bands, such as Con Funk Shun, Cameo, and Lakeside would have a few quiet storm tracks on their albums. Among the most successful acts in this era include Smokey Robinson, Teddy Pendergrass, Peabo Bryson, Atlantic Starr, and Larry Graham.
After the decline of disco and funk in the early 1980s, soul music became influenced by electro music. It became less raw and more slickly produced, resulting in a style known as contemporary R&B, which sounded very different from the original rhythm and blues style. The United States saw the development of neo-soul around 1994. Mainstream record label marketing support for soul genres cooled in the 2000s due to the industry's re-focus on hip-hop.
Berry Gordy's successful Tamla/Motown group of labels was notable for being African-American owned, unlike most of the earlier independent R&B labels. Notable artists under this label were The Supremes, The Temptations, The Miracles, the Four Tops, The Marvelettes, Mary Wells, Jr. Walker & The All-Stars, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, Martha and the Vandellas, and The Jackson Five.
Hits were made using a quasi-industrial "production-line" approach. Some considered the sound to be mechanistic, but the producers and songwriters brought artistic sensitivity to the three-minute tunes. Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland were rarely out of the charts for their work as songwriters and record producers for The Supremes, the Four Tops and Martha and the Vandellas. They allowed important elements to shine through the dense musical texture. Rhythm was emphasized by hand claps or tambourine. Smokey Robinson was another writer and record producer who added lyrics to "The Tracks Of My Tears" by his group The Miracles, which was one of the most important songs of the decade.
Stax Records and Atlantic Records were independent labels that produced high-quality dance records featuring many well known singers of the day. They tended to have smaller ensembles marked by expressive gospel-tinged vocals. Brass and saxophones were also used extensively.
Founded in 1957 as Satellite Records, the label changed its name to Stax Records in 1961. It was a major factor in the creation of Southern soul and Memphis soul music. Stax also released gospel, funk, jazz, and blues recordings. While renowned for its output of African-American music, the label was founded by two white siblings and business partners, Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton (STewart/AXton = Stax). It featured several popular ethnically integrated bands (including the label's house band, Booker T. & the M.G.'s) and a racially integrated team of staff and artists unprecedented in that time of racial strife and tension in Memphis and the South.
Following the death of Stax's biggest star, Otis Redding, in 1967, and the severance of the label's distribution deal with Atlantic Records in 1968, Stax continued primarily under the supervision of a new co-owner, Al Bell. Over the next five years, Bell expanded the label's operations significantly, in order to compete with Stax's main rival, Motown Records in Detroit. During the mid-1970s, a number of factors, including a problematic distribution deal with CBS Records, caused the label to slide into insolvency, resulting in its forced closure in late 1975.
In 1977, Fantasy Records acquired the post-1968 Stax catalog and selected pre-1968 recordings. Beginning in 1978, Stax (now owned by Fantasy) began signing new acts and issuing new material, as well as reissuing previously recorded Stax material. However, by the early 1980s no new material was being issued on the label, and for the next two decades, Stax was strictly a reissue label.
After Concord Records acquired Fantasy in 2004, the Stax label was reactivated, and is today used to issue both the 1968–1975 catalog material and new recordings by current R&B and soul performers. Atlantic Records continues to hold the rights to the vast majority of the 1959–1968 Stax material.
Atlantic Records is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic Records earned a reputation as one of the most important American recording labels, specializing in jazz, R&B and soul recordings by African-American musicians including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding, a position greatly enhanced by its distribution deal with Stax Records. In 1967, Atlantic Records became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, and expanded into rock and pop music with releases by bands such as Led Zeppelin and Yes.
In 2004, Atlantic Records and its sister label Elektra Records merged into Atlantic Records Group. Craig Kallman is currently the chairman of Atlantic Records. Ahmet Ertegün served as founding chairman until his death on December 14, 2006 at age 83.
Pioneers of southern soul include: Georgia natives Ray Charles and James Brown; Little Willie John, Bobby "Blue" Bland, New Orleans R&B artist Allen Toussaint; and Memphis DJ Rufus Thomas and Elvis Presley who was steeped heavily in not only country and western and the jump blues of the south, but also heavily influenced by gospel music. At its core, gospel is the main influence of soul music.
Southern soul was at its peak during the 1960s, when Memphis soul was created. In 1963, Stan Lewis founded Jewel Records in Shreveport, Louisiana, along with two subsidiary labels, Paula and Ronn. Jewel and Ronn Records were the leaders for R&B, blues, soul and gospel tunes. Lewis signed artists such as John Lee Hooker, Charles Brown, Bobby Rush, Buster Benton, Toissaint McCall, Lightin’ Hopkins, Ted Taylor, Little Johnny Taylor and The Uniques. The Carter Brothers in 1965 landed Jewel Records its first national hit on the R&B charts.
In 1966, the Shreveport-based Murco Records released “Losin’ Boy” by Eddie Giles, which registered for five weeks on Cashbox magazine’s Hot 100. Murco Records had chart success with its other artists which included Reuben Bell and the Belltones, Dori Grayson, Charles Crawford, Ann Alford, Abraham & the Casanovas and Marion Ester. There were other less prominent record labels in Shreveport that catered to this brand of music.
The most significant contributors were Stax Records and their house band Booker T. & the MGs. The Stax label's most successful artist of the 1960s, Otis Redding, was influenced by fellow Georgia native Little Richard and the more cosmopolitan sounds of Mississippi-born Sam Cooke. Other Stax artists of note included Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, The Staple Singers, and Isaac Hayes. Atlantic Records artists Sam & Dave's records were released on the Stax label and featured the MGs. Wilson Pickett launched his solo career through his collaboration with the Stax team.
After Sam & Dave moved from Stax to Atlantic Records, Stax producer David Porter and his songwriting and production partner Isaac Hayes decided to put together a new vocal group of two men and two women. They recruited J. Blackfoot, together with Norman West, Anita Louis, and Shelbra Bennett, to form The Soul Children. Between 1968 and 1978, The Soul Children had 15 hits on the R&B chart, including three that crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, and recorded seven albums.
Another Memphis label, Goldwax Records, featured O.V. Wright and James Carr, while Al Green recorded for Memphis's Hi Records, where he was produced by Willie Mitchell. Also influential was the "Muscle Shoals Sound", originating from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section played on hits by many Stax artists during the late 1960s through the mid-1970s, and Atlantic Records artists Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Joe Tex and Aretha Franklin.
Southern soul music is still being recorded and performed by artists such as Shirley Brown, Sir Charles Jones, Barbara Carr, Willie Clayton, Bobby Rush (musician), Denise LaSalle, Reggie Sears, TK Soul, Joyce Cobb, O.B. Buchanan, Ms Jody, Karen Wolfe, LeBrado, Redd Velvet, Vick Allen, Floyd Taylor, Bigg Robb, Omar Cunningham, Jeff Floyd, Mel Waiters, Roni, Theodis Ealey, Roy C, Donnie Ray, Millie Jackson, Sam Dees, Ms. Jody and among many other known Southern Soul artists that receive world wide recognition and airplay.
Memphis soul is a shimmering, sultry style of soul music produced in the 1960s and 1970s at Stax Records and Hi Records in Memphis, Tennessee. It featured melancholic and melodic horns, Hammond organ, bass, and drums, as heard in recordings by Hi's Al Green and Stax's Booker T. & the M.G.'s. The latter group also sometimes played in the harder-edged Southern soul style. The Hi Records house band (Hi Rhythm Section) and producer Willie Mitchell developed a surging soul style heard in the label's 1970s hit recordings. Some Stax recordings fit into this style, but had their own unique sound.
The New Orleans soul scene directly came out of the rhythm and blues era, when such artists as Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Huey Piano Smith made a huge impact on the pop and R&B charts and a huge direct influence on the birth of Funk music. The principal architect of Crescent City’s soul was songwriter, arranger, and producer Allen Toussaint. He worked with such artists as Irma Thomas (“the Soul Queen of New Orleans”), Jessie Hill, Kris Kenner, Benny Spellman, and Ernie K. Doe on the Minit/Instant label complex to produce a distinctive New Orleans soul sound that generated a passel of national hits. Other notable New Orleans hits came from Robert Parker, Betty Harris, and Aaron Neville. While record labels in New Orleans largely disappeared by the mid-1960s, producers in the city continued to record New Orleans soul artists for other mainly New York City- and Los Angeles-based record labels—notably Lee Dorsey for New York–based Amy Records and the Meters for New York–based Josie and then LA-based Reprise.
Chicago soul generally had a light gospel-influenced sound, but the large number of record labels based in the city tended to produce a more diverse sound than other cities. Vee Jay Records, which lasted until 1966, produced recordings by Jerry Butler, Betty Everett, Dee Clark, and Gene Chandler. Chess Records, mainly a blues and rock and roll label, produced a number of major soul artists, including The Dells and Billy Stewart. Curtis Mayfield not only scored many hits with his group, The Impressions, but wrote many hit songs for Chicago artists and produced hits on his own labels for The Fascinations, Major Lance, and the Five Stairsteps.
Dominated by Berry Gordy's Motown Records empire, Detroit soul is strongly rhythmic and influenced by gospel music. The Motown sound often includes hand clapping, a powerful bassline, violins and bells. Motown Records' house band was The Funk Brothers. AllMusic cites Motown as the pioneering label of pop-soul, a style of soul music with raw vocals, but polished production and toned-down subject matter intended for pop radio and crossover success. Artists of this style included Diana Ross, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, and Billy Preston. Popular during the 1960s, the style became glossier during the 1970s and led to disco.
Based primarily in the Philadelphia International record label, Philadelphia soul (or Philly Soul) had a lush orchestral sound and do-wop inspired vocals. Thom Bell, and Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff are considered the founders of Philadelphia soul, which produced hits for The O'Jays, The Intruders, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, and The Spinners.
Psychedelic soul, sometimes known as "black rock", was a blend of psychedelic rock and soul music in the late 1960s, which paved the way for the mainstream emergence of funk music a few years later. Early pioneers of this sub-genre of soul music include Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder. While psychedelic rock began its decline, the influence of psychedelic soul continued on and remained prevalent through the 1970s.
Blue-eyed soul is R&B or soul music performed by white artists. The meaning of blue-eyed soul has evolved over decades. Originally the term was associated with mid-1960s white artists who performed soul and R&B that was similar to the music released by Motown Records and Stax Records. The term continued to be used in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly by the British media to refer to a new generation of singers who adopted elements of the Stax and Motown sounds. To a lesser extent, the term has been applied to singers in other music genres that are influenced by soul music. Artists like Hall and Oates, David Bowie, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse and Adele are known as Blue-eyed soul singers.
Soul has been a major influence on British popular music since the 1960s including bands of the British Invasion, most significantly The Beatles. There were a handful of significant British Blue-eyed soul acts, including Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones. American soul was extremely popular among some youth sub-cultures like the Northern soul and Modern soul movements, but a clear genre of British soul did not emerge until the 1980s when a number of artists including George Michael, Sade, Simply Red, Lisa Stansfield and Soul II Soul enjoyed commercial success. The popularity of British soul artists in the U.S., most notably Amy Winehouse, Adele, Estelle, Duffy, Joss Stone and Leona Lewis, led to talk of a "third British Invasion" or soul invasion in the 2000s and 2010s.
The term neo soul is a marketing phrase coined in the early 1990s by producer and record label executive Kedar Massenburg to describe a blend of 1970s soul-style vocals and instrumentation with contemporary R&B sounds, hip-hop beats and poetic interludes. The style was developed in the early to mid-1990s. A key element in neo soul is a heavy dose of Fender Rhodes or Wurlitzer electric piano "pads" over a mellow, grooving interplay between the drums (usually with a rim shot snare sound) and a muted, deep funky bass. The Fender Rhodes piano sound gives the music a warm, organic character.
The phrase northern soul was coined by journalist Dave Godin and popularized in 1970 through his column in Blues and Soul magazine. The term refers to rare soul music that was played by DJs at nightclubs in northern England. The playlists originally consisted of obscure 1960s and early 1970s American soul recordings with an up-tempo beat, such as those on Motown Records and more obscure labels such as Okeh Records. Modern soul developed when northern soul DJs began looking in record shops in the United States and United Kingdom for music that was more complex and contemporary. What emerged was a richer sound that was more advanced in terms of Hi-Fi and FM radio technology.
Nu jazz, also known as jazztronica, is a genre of contemporary electronic music. The term was coined in the late 1990s to refer to music that blends jazz elements with other musical styles, such as funk, soul, electronic dance music, and free improvisation.
Nu jazz ranges from combining live instrumentation with beats of jazz house, exemplified by St Germain, Jazzanova and Fila Brazillia, to more band-based improvised jazz with electronic elements, such as that of The Cinematic Orchestra, Kobol, and the "future jazz" style pioneered by Bugge Wesseltoft, Jaga Jazzist, Nils Petter Molvær, and others.
Nu jazz typically ventures farther into the electronic territory than does its close cousin, acid jazz, which is generally closer to earthier funk, soul, and rhythm and blues, although releases from noted groove & smooth jazz artists such as the Groove Collective, and Pamela Williams blur the distinction between the styles. Nu jazz can be very experimental in nature and can vary widely in sound and concept. The sound, unlike acid jazz, departs from its blues roots and instead explores electronic sounds and ethereal jazz sensualities. Nu jazz “is the music itself and not the individual dexterity of the musicians.”
Electronica is an umbrella term that encompasses a broad group of electronic-based styles such as Techno, house, ambient, drum and bass, jungle, and industrial dance, among others. It has been used to describe the rise of electronic music styles intended not just for dancing but also concentrated listening.
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a museum located in Memphis, Tennessee, at 926 East McLemore Avenue, the former location of Stax Records. It is located adjacent the Stax Music Academy.
After Stax Records went bankrupt and closed in 1976, the Stax studio was sold by the Union Planters Bank to Southside Church of God in Christ, located nearby on McLemore Avenue. Except for a brief time when it was used as a soup kitchen, it was allowed to deteriorate so it was torn down in 1989. The neighborhood had deteriorated badly and by 1998, a group of concerned people and anonymous philanthropists spearheaded a nonprofit revitalization effort for the area which was dubbed Soulsville after the slogan "Soulsville U.S.A." which Stax called its studio on its former theater marquee as a counterpoint to Motown Records' Hitsville U.S.A.
Construction began on the Stax Museum and adjacent Stax Music Academy in April 2001 and the museum opened in May 2003. The Stax Museum is a replica of the Stax recording studio, the former Capitol Theater, down to the sloping floor of studio A. It is a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) museum with more than 2,000 videos, films, photographs, original instruments used to record Stax hits, stage costumes, interactive exhibits, and other items of memorabilia. Some of the standout exhibits include an authentic 101-year-old Mississippi Delta church to help show the gospel roots of soul music; the Soul Train dance floor, Isaac Hayes' restored 1972 gold-trimmed, peacock-blue Cadillac El Dorado; and a changing gallery where special exhibits change five times each year.
Because the Stax Museum is one of only a handful of museums in the world dedicated to soul music (the Southern Museum of Music is soon to be another), it not only celebrates the legacy of Stax Records and its artists such as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, Booker T. & the MGs, Rufus and Carla Thomas and others, but also features other soul music labels such as Motown, Hi Records, Atlantic Records, and Muscle Shoals, and visitors are treated to vintage video footage of non-Stax artists such as Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Ann Peebles, The Jackson Five, Patti LaBelle, Parliament-Funkadelic, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Ike & Tina Turner, and others.
The Stax Music Academy is a state-of-the-art facility where primarily at-risk youth are mentored through music education and unique performance opportunities they would otherwise likely never experience. The building also houses The Soulsville Charter School, an academically rigorous, musically rich school where students study math, language arts, science, social studies, and orchestra. Their Soulsville Symphony Orchestra has played for the likes of Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and Isaac Hayes.
Click on any of the names below to hear samples: