100 Greatest Soul Songs of the 60s and 70s

Top 100 Soul Songs of the 60s and 70s

The roots of soul music emerged in the late 50s. The genre came into prominence in the 60s and became massively popular worldwide. Dwell in an epic list of the best soul songs of the 60s and 70s.

The United States is considered the birthplace of Soul Music. While there are different interpretations of what soul music represents, the truth is it is music that makes you feel good. When you listen to soul songs you feel the euphoric rush move in your body, and you cannot but help groove to the music. Soul music is an amalgamation of Rhythm and Blues, Jazz and African-American gospel music. It’s this magical blend that gives soul its unique identity. The hybrid mix of religious sentiments with secular styles gave new meaning to soul in the 60s.

Soul songs became huge chartbusters in the 60s and 70s thereby leading to slick sounding subgenres.

The Soul Story

While the term ‘soul’ has been used to emphasize the clarity of being African-American in the United States, it has also been used generically by the African-American community as a representation of peace and pride among their culture. While there are different theories of how Soul came into being, the genre was a result of experimentation with African-American Gospel music, Jazz and Rhythm and Blues. The hybridization and amalgamation of different styles of African American music paved the way for Soul. Soul songs gave a new identity to African American culture in the 60s and 70s

The soul genre spread its wings in the 50s; however, it was the dawn of the 60s that took soul to a new level. Singers and music composers started combining gospel, jazz and rhythm and blues techniques, and styles in Popular American forms of music. The lyrics of soul songs are stories of emotion that narrate a tale of life experiences. Motown, Atlantic and Staxx are three important record labels responsible for promoting soul in its early beginnings  Gradually ‘soul’ was used as a umbrella term to describe popular African American Music. The 60s was the decade of Soul Superstars. Some of the key figures that helped propel soul to dizzy heights are mentioned below…

Keystone Figures in Soul

  • Otis Redding
  • James Brown
  • Sam Cooke
  • Jackie Wilson
  • Solomon Burke
  • Ben. E. King
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Wilson Pickett
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Curtis Mayfield
  • Percy Sledge
  • Stevie Wonder

Soul is a broad based music genre that made way for many subgenres. Some of the important subgenres of soul are…

Soul and it’s Subgenres

  • New Orleans Soul- A product of Hybridization of rhythm and blues
  • Motown (Detroit)- An Amalgamation of rhythmic roots music with strong influences of southern soul, deep soul and gospel with an influx of R&B.
  • Chicago Soul- A lush-soft gospel influenced sound
  • Psychedelic Soul- A sound with a blend of psychedelic rock and soul
  • Memphis Soul- Southern soul with a sultry shimmering style and sound.
  • British Soul and Northern Soul- British Soul being music performed by British artists and Northern Soul being a music and dance movement popularized by DJs playing rare soul music in Northern England
  • Philadelphia Soul- Music with influences of funk and doo-wop with textural orchestral sounds. 
  • Blue Eyed Soul- Soul Music and Rhythm and Blues performed by white bands and artists.

Soul music has been one of the most influential music genres for artists and bands associated with popular music. We see influences of R&B and soul music in present day dance music. Also The R&B charts the world over owe it to soul music in the 60s and 70s that led to the emergence of new subgenres.

The space below showcases a comprehensive list of the best soul songs. The list includes R&B- Soul, Soul Ballads, and Psychedelic soul songs.

100 Greatest Soul Songs of the 60s and 70s

  1. I Heard It Through The Grapevine- Marvin Gaye (1968)
  2. When A Man Loves A Woman- Percy Sledge (1966)
  3. Superstition- Stevie Wonder (1972)
  4. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long- Otis Redding (1965)
  5. A Change Is Gonna Come- Sam Cooke (1964)
  6. I Was Made To Love Her- Stevie Wonder (1967)
  7. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay- Otis Redding (1967)
  8. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough- Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (1967)
  9. Respect- Aretha Franklin (1967)
  10. I Got You (I Feel Good)- James Brown (1965)
  11. Reach Out I’ll Be There- Four Tops (1966)
  12. Stand By Me- Ben. E. King (1962)
  13. In The Midnight Hour- Wilson Pickett (1966)
  14. Rescue Me- Fontella Bass (1965)
  15. Try A Little Tenderness- Otis Redding (1966)
  16. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted- Jimmy Ruffin (1966)
  17. Soul Man- Sam & Dave (1967)
  18. It Takes Two- Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston (1965)
  19. My Girl- The Temptations (1965)
  20. Oh, What a Night- The Dells (1969)
  21. Nowhere To Run- Martha and the Vandellas (1965)
  22. Let’s Get It On- Marvin Gaye (1973)
  23. Baby I Need your Loving- Four Tops (1964)
  24. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher- Jackie Wilson (1967)
  25. Betcha By Golly Wow- The Stylistics (1972)
  26. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg- The Temptations (1966)
  27. Do You Love Me- The Contours (1962)
  28. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)- Marvin Gaye (1971)
  29. Living For The City- Stevie Wonder (1973)
  30. Dance To The Music- Sly and the Family Stone (1968)
  31. You Can’t Hurry Love- The Supremes (1966)
  32. Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe- Barry White (1974)
  33. Stay In My Corner- The Dells (1965)
  34. The Tears of a Clown- Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (1970)
  35. Cry To Me- Solomon Burke (1964)
  36. Kiss and Say Goodbye- The Manhattans (1976)
  37. Everyday People- Sly and the Family Stone (1968)
  38. That Lady- The Isley Brothers (1973)
  39. Chain of Fools- Aretha Franklin (1967)
  40. Ain’t No Sunshine- Bill Withers (1971)
  41. Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone- The Temptations (1972)
  42. Where Did Our Love Go- The Supremes (1964)
  43. The Love I Lost- Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (1973)
  44. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours- Stevie Wonder (1970)
  45. I Wish It Would Rain- The Temptations (1967)
  46. Yes, I’m Ready- Barbara Mason (1965)
  47. I Wish- Stevie Wonder (1976)
  48. The Tracks of My Tears- Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1965)
  49. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)- The Temptations (1971)
  50. Baby Love- The Supremes (1964)
  51. Lovin’ You- Minnie Ripperton  (1975)
  52. I’ll Be Around- The Spinners (1973)
  53. Back Stabbers- The O’Jays (1972)
  54. Still Water (Peace)- Four Tops (1970)
  55. Got To Give It Up – Marvin Gaye (1977)
  56. For The Love of You- The Isley Brothers (1975)
  57. Me and Mrs. Jones- Billy Paul (1972)
  58. Freddie’s Dead- Curtis Mayfield (1972)
  59. My Guy- Mary Wells (1964)
  60. This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)- The Isley Brothers (1966)
  61. Midnight Train To Georgia- Gladys Knight & the Pips (1973)
  62. Don’t Leave Me This Way- Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (1975)
  63. Shop Around- The Miracles (1960)
  64. Rainy Night In Georgia- Brook Benton (1970)
  65. If I Could Build My Whole World Around You- Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (1967)
  66. Use Ta Be My Girl- The O’Jays (1978)
  67. Got to Get You Off My Mind- Solomon Burke (1965)
  68. I Can’t help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)- Four Tops (1965)
  69. Love And Happiness- Al Green (1972)
  70. Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time- The Delfonics (1969)
  71. Get Ready- The Temptations (1966)
  72. Mr. Big Stuff- Jean Knight (1970)
  73. Everybody Plays The Fool- The Main Ingredient (1972)
  74. Let’s Stay Together- Al Green (1972)
  75. War- The Temptations (1970)
  76. Who’s Making Love- Johnnie Taylor (1968)
  77. Under The Broadwalk- The Drifters- (1964)
  78. It’s a Shame- The Spinners (1970)
  79. Can I Change My Mind- Tyrone Davis (1969)
  80. You Make Me Feel Brand New- The Stylistics (1974)
  81. Tell Me Something Good- Rufus and Chaka Khan (1974)
  82. Stop! In The Name of Love- The Supremes (1965)
  83. I Want You Back- The Jackson 5 (1969)
  84. Tired of Being Alone- Al Green (1971)
  85. You Keep Me Hangin’ On- The Supremes (1966)
  86. Respect Yourself- The Staple Singers (1971)
  87. Love Train- The O’Jays (1972)
  88. I Should Be Proud- Martha and the Vandellas (1970)
  89. Close the Door- Teddy Pendergrass (1978)
  90. Dancing In The Streets- Martha and the Vandellas (1964)
  91. La-La (Means I Love You)- The Delfonics (1968)
  92. Could It Be I’m Falling In Love- The Spinners (1972)
  93. Take Me To The River- Al Green (1974)
  94. Hot Fun In The Summertime- Sly and the Family Stone (1969)
  95. Jimmy Mack- Martha and the Vandellas (1967)
  96. I’ll Take You There- The Staple Singers (1972)
  97. Best of My Love- The Emotions (1977)
  98. O-o-h Child- Five Stairsteps (1970)
  99. Stop the War Now- Edwin Starr (1971)
  100. Turn Back the Hands of Time- Tyrone Davis (1970)

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