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Blue-eyed soul

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blue-eyed soul (also known as white soul)[1] is rhythm and blues and soul music performed by white artists.[2] The term was coined in the mid-1960s, to describe white artists who performed soul and R&B that was similar to the music of the Motown and Stax record labels. Though many rhythm and blues radio stations in the United States in that period would play music only by black musicians, some began to play music by white acts considered to have "soul feeling" and their music was then described as "blue-eyed soul".[3][4]

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Transcription

Contents

1960s

The Righteous Brothers, one of the early artists most closely associated with blue-eyed soul
The Righteous Brothers, one of the early artists most closely associated with blue-eyed soul

Georgie Woods, a Philadelphia radio DJ, is thought to have coined the term "blue-eyed soul" in 1964, initially to describe The Righteous Brothers, then white artists in general who received airplay on rhythm and blues radio stations.[4][5][6] The Righteous Brothers in turn named their 1964 LP Some Blue-Eyed Soul.[7][8] According to Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, R&B radio stations who played their songs were surprised to find them to be white when they turned up for interviews, and one DJ in Philadelphia (unnamed by Medley but probably Georgie Woods) started saying "Here's my blue-eyed soul brothers", and it became a code to signal to the audience that they were white singers.[9] The popularity of The Righteous Brothers who had a hit with "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" is thought to have started the trend of R&B radio stations to play songs by white artists in the mid-1960s, a more integrative approach that was then popular with their audience.[3] The term blue-eyed soul was then applied to such artists as Sonny & Cher, The Beatles, Tom Jones, Barry McGuire, and Roy Head.[10]

White musicians playing R&B music, however, began before the term blue-eyed soul was coined. For instance, in the early 1960s, one of the rare female blue-eyed soul singers was Timi Yuro, whose vocal delivery and repertoire were influenced by African American singers such as Dinah Washington.[11]

Steve Winwood performing with Traffic, 1969
Steve Winwood performing with Traffic, 1969

Lonnie Mack's 1963 gospel-infused vocals earned him widespread critical acclaim as a blue-eyed soul singer.[12] Groups such as The Rascals had soul-tinged pop songs,[13] but it was the soulful vocals of Felix Cavaliere that gave them the blue-eyed soul sound. By the mid-1960s, British singers Dusty Springfield, Eric Burdon and Tom Jones had become leading vocal stars of the emerging style.[14] Other notable UK exponents of blue-eyed soul included The Spencer Davis Group (featuring Steve Winwood), Van Morrison, and archetypal mod band The Small Faces, whose sound was heavily influenced by the Stax label's house band Booker T. & the M.G.'s. Blue-eyed soul singer Chris Clark became the first white singer to have an R&B hit with Motown Records in 1966. In 1969, Kiki Dee became the first British artist to sign and record with Motown. Some British rock groups of the 1960s—such as the Spencer Davis Group, the Animals, the Rolling Stones ("My Girl"), and the Who ("Heat Wave")[15]—covered Motown and rhythm and blues tracks. In 1967, Jerry Lee Lewis, whose latter days at Sun Records (1961–63) had been characterized by R&B covers, recorded an album for Smash entitled Soul My Way. Delaney and Bonnie (Bramlett) produced the blue-eyed soul album Home on Stax in 1969.[16] Michael Sembello, who left home at age 17 to tour with Stevie Wonder, wrote and performed on numerous blue-eyed soul hits for Wonder, Brian McKnight, David Sanborn, Bill Champlin and Bobby Caldwell. Todd Rundgren began his career in Woody's Truck Stop, a group based on the model of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

After splitting from Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin formed a new backup group, the Kozmic Blues Band, composed of session musicians like keyboardist Stephen Ryder and saxophonist Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers, as well as former Big Brother and the Holding Company guitarist Sam Andrew and future Full Tilt Boogie Band bassist Brad Campbell. The band was influenced by the Stax-Volt rhythm and blues (R&B) and soul bands of the 1960s, as exemplified by Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays.[17][18] The Stax-Volt R&B sound was typified by the use of horns and had a funky, pop-oriented sound, in contrast to many of the psychedelic and hard rock bands of the period.[citation needed]

Outside the European-American scene, in Italy, Carmen Villani and Mina fused elements of soul with the traditional Italian pop.[19][20][21][22][23] Scandinavian artists Carola and Doris were also influenced by soul.[24][25][26][27]

1970s

Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds and the Grass Roots both had successful blue-eyed soul singles; the former with "Don't Pull Your Love" (1971) and the latter with "Two Divided by Love" (1971) and "The Runway" (1972). In 1973, the American band Stories and the Canadian group Skylark had successes with their respective blue-eyed soul singles "Brother Louie" and "Wildflower". In February 1975, Tower of Power became the first white/mixed act to appear on Soul Train. Also in 1975, David Bowie, another early white artist to appear on Soul Train, released Young Americans, a popular blue-eyed soul album which Bowie himself called "plastic soul". It featured the funk-inspired "Fame", which became Bowie's first number-one hit in the US. Hall & Oates' 1975 Silver Album (real title Daryl Hall & John Oates) includes the ballad "Sara Smile", long considered a blue-eyed soul standard. "She's Gone", another soulful hit, was originally released in 1973 but did better as a re-release after "Sara Smile". Average White Band is a Scottish funk and R&B band who had a series of soul and disco hits between 1974 and 1980, their biggest two being "Pick Up the Pieces" from their 1974 best-selling album AWB, and "Cut the Cake" from their 1975 album of the same name. Boz Scaggs' 1976 "Lowdown", which featured Scaggs' laid-back vocals and a smooth funky groove, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart (and reaching Top 5 on the R&B chart). In April 1976, white funk band Wild Cherry released the Billboard Hot 100 chart topping funk/rock single "Play That Funky Music" and also went to number one on the Hot Soul Singles chart. The single would eventually sell over two million copies.[28] Steely Dan's 1977 single "Josie" was also commercially successful.

In 1978, Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" and a cover of "Hello Stranger" both charted on the R & B charts, as did Linda Ronstadt's cover of "Ooh Baby, Baby".

Other successful blue-eyed soul songs of the decade include Ace's "How Long" (1975), Ambrosia's "Holdin' on to Yesterday" (1975) and "How Much I Feel" (1978), Frankie Valli's "Grease", and Bobby Caldwell's soul standard "What You Won't Do for Love (1979)".

1980s and later

Duffy, Welsh soul artist
Duffy, Welsh soul artist

Hall & Oates' chart success was at its highest when their singles got heavy airplay on urban contemporary radio, as was the case with "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Kiss on My List", "One on One", "Say It Isn't So", "Adult Education", "Out of Touch", "Method of Modern Love" and "Everytime You Go Away". Most of those singles charted on the R&B and dance charts, including some number-one hits. Simply Red scored one of the most successful blue-eyed soul ballads of all time in 1986 with "Holding Back the Years".

Other successful blue-eyed soul songs of the 1980s include Phil Collins' cover of "You Can't Hurry Love" (1982); Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" (1982), "Time (Clock of the Heart)" (1982) and "Church of the Poison Mind" (1983); Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen" (1983); the Style Council's "Shout to the Top" (1984); Teena Marie's "Lovergirl"(1985); Eurythmics' "Missionary Man" (1986) and Steve Winwood's "Roll with It" (1988). As the decade drew to a close, British artist Lisa Stansfield had considerable success on R&B radio, scoring three number-one R&B hits, the most popular being "All Around the World".

A backlash ensued in the late 1980s as some black people felt that white people were cashing in on the popularity of their music. However, the extent of the backlash was not universally agreed upon. In 1989, Ebony Magazine published an article exploring whether white people were "taking over" R&B. The article featured various members of the music industry, both black and white, who believed collaboration was a unifying force, and there was agreement that the future of R&B was not compromised by the contemporary urban sound. A similar article in Ebony, written in 1999 highlighted conflicting opinions about the "blue-eyed" influence; however, the source of contention was not about the artistic merit of blue-eyed soul, but rather the economic inequality that persisted in American life and within the music industry.[29]

Daryl Hall has described the term "blue-eyed soul" as racist, saying "It assumes I’m coming from the outside. There’s always been that thing in America, where if you’re a white guy and you’re singing or playing in a black idiom, it’s like: ‘Why is he doing that? Is he from the outside, looking in? Is he copying? What’s the point of it?’ C’mon, it’s music! It’s music."[30]

Scottish musician Paolo Nutini is considered to be a renowned contemporary blue-eyed soul artist,[according to whom?] with his two first albums certified quintuple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry.[31]

See also

References

  1. ^ Jahn, Mike (1973). Rock: From Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones. Quadrangle. p. 173.
  2. ^ "Blue-Eyed Soul". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b "R&B Stations Open Air Gates to 'White Soulists'". Billboard: 1, 49. October 9, 1965.
  4. ^ a b "Blue-Eyed Soul Artists Herald Musical Integration on Airways". Billboard: 26, 38. October 22, 1966.
  5. ^ Bill Millar (1983). "Blue-eyed Soul: Colour Me Soul".
  6. ^ Gerry Wilkinson. "Georgie Woods". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.
  7. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 55 – Crammer: A lively cram course on the history of rock and some other things" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  8. ^ "Righteous Brothers, The – Some Blue-Eyed Soul at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  9. ^ Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0306823169.
  10. ^ "Blue-Eyed Soul Artists Herald Musical Integration on Airways". Billboard: 26, 38. October 22, 1966.
  11. ^ Bob Dickinson, Timi Yuro: Feisty white singer with a black soul voice, The Guardian, 10 April 2004. Retrieved 21 November 2015
  12. ^ Alec Dubrow, Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968) Quote: "It is truly the voice of Lonnie Mack that sets him apart. He is primarily a gospel singer, and in a way not too different from, say, Elvis, whose gospel works are both great and largely unnoticed. Lonnie's songs have a sincerity and intensity that's hard to find anywhere." See also, Bill Millar (1983). "Blue-eyed Soul: Colour Me Soul". The History of Rock. Archived from the original on 2007-11-22. Retrieved 2007-11-14: "Lonnie Mack wailed a soul ballad as gutsily as any black gospel singer. The anguished inflections which stamped his best songs ("Why?", "She Don't Come Here Anymore" and "Where There's a Will") had a directness which would have been wholly embarrassing in the hands of almost any other white vocalist."
  13. ^ "Blue Eyed Soul Music – What is Blue Eyed Soul Music? – Oldies Music Songs and Artists". Oldies.about.com. 2012-05-22. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  14. ^ "Dusty Springfield Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  15. ^ http://www.thewho.net/discography/songs/HeatWave.html
  16. ^ "The Righteous Brothers "Blue-Eyed Soul"". Righteousbrothers.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2007. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  17. ^ Amburn, Ellis (October 1992). Pearl: The Obsessions and Passions of Janis Joplin : A Biography. Time Warner. ISBN 0-446-51640-6.
  18. ^ Friedman, Myra (September 15, 1992). Buried Alive: The Biography of Janis Joplin. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 0-517-58650-9.
  19. ^ Settimana 20 Dicembre 1968 Hitparadeitalia site. Retrieved 6 August 2007
  20. ^ Se stasera sono qui hitparadeitalia site. Retrieved 10 August 2007
  21. ^ Loris Biazzetti 2005. The Platinum Collection. CD liner notes. EMI
  22. ^ Io e te da soli HitParadeItalia site. Retrieved 27 June 2007
  23. ^ "Carmen Villani". Radio Italia Musica. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15.
  24. ^ Carola (FI): Chain of Fools (Song) (In German). swisscharts.com
  25. ^ Carolaa neljällä kielellä (Carola in four languages. In Finnish). YLE
  26. ^ "Forty Essential Funk Albums". Blaxploitation.com.
  27. ^ Doris: Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby? Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine. Other Music digital music store
  28. ^ "Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  29. ^ Hughes, Zondra (1999). "'Are Whites Stealing Rhythm & Blues? – conflicting opinions about the 'blue-eyed' influence in rhythm and blues music". Ebony Magazine. Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  30. ^ "Please, don’t categorize Hall and Oates this way: ‘It’s a racist term’", Something Else!, May 10, 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015
  31. ^ "Paolo Nutini Biography, Discography, Chart History". Top40-Charts.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 November 2018, at 18:22
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