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Top 25 Soul and R & B Classics

Top 25 Soul and R & B Classics

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Published by Seif-Eldeine O
For the best ever in Soul and R & B, read this list containing some of the most classics song of our time in any genre.
For the best ever in Soul and R & B, read this list containing some of the most classics song of our time in any genre.

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Categories:Types, Reviews, Music
Published by: Seif-Eldeine O on Apr 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Top 25 Soul and R & B ClassicsIntroduction
You will notice the incredible amount of difficulty I had in making this list because Iexcluded Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Prince, Aaliyah and Ray Charles among others.Some of these artists may yet crack the Top 25 once I have more time to look at their songsand amend the list. (I may come back and turn this into a top 50, then top 75, then top 100.There is just waaayyyyy too much good Soul Music out there. I wish Jazz-Rap fusion, myfavorite genre, had this many talented musicians working on it over the years.)
25.Anita Baker -"Sweet Love"
Anita Baker sings in a real deep Alto. She is the counterpart to some of the other femalesingers on this list, like Whitney Houston and Minnie Riperton, who really hit the top of the female voice. At times, she does sneak into the low part of the soprano range, but allher singing is grounded in her alto.Baker really caresses and makes love to the mic in the above link's performance. She paysattention not only to her voice, but how her performance affects the quality of the song. Her  performance comes alive especially at the last half minute of the song, and she blows thecrowd away with her dancing and movement.The musical accompaniment also blows you away with its overpowering quality, andknocks you out with Anita's voice.Though the lyrics are simple, and repeated over the course of the song, they are never sangin the same way twice.
24. Gladys Knight and the Pips -"The Midnight Train toGeorgia"
"The Midnight Train to Georgia" contains a lot of  call and response. The response acts like the conscious thoughts of the narrator as she makes her decision to follow her loved one.The narration, though simple in terms of plot, moves along nicely with the usual climaxand resolution. Especially for a song of average length, it has a great progression andcompleteness.Knight's narrative voice resonates with the response throughout the whole song. She punctuates each song with her emotion. Part of her ability to hit emotions comes from her control over her chest cavity to her diaphragm. Her singing creates a completeness similar to that found in the narrative.
At the height of the climax, her air retention and the ability to push her voice out creates aeuphoric feeling of hope while she pursues her lover "in his world....and not in [hers.]" Thetrombones add a touch to her euphoria.Another quality of Knight's voice is her care and tenderness.On a lighter note, my favorite call and response in the song is "he kept dreaming(dreaming) oohhh someday he'd be the star (a superstaaa but he didn't get far," (from 1:38to 1:50.) I don't know why, it makes me laugh.
23. Third World
Unfortunately, this song has a bad intro that is too reggae for this sincere love song thatseems to suddenly switch direction when the intro is over. The reggae drumbeats continueeven when the singing starts and are most prominent during the chorus. If it had not beenfor the intro, the drumbeats and the instrumentals in general, this song likely would havecracked the top 10.You can forgive that this song usesthought-stopping techniquesto a degree that wouldmake even modern pop stars and politicians blush.If there is so many problems with this song, why is it number 23 on this list?The chorus is so sweet and harmonious, we can forgive that the constant repetition is athought-stopping technique.Love is not enough is a statement we have all experienced in our lives. Once we have"found love" the road tends to get difficult not easy. It is the time to both proceed withcaution AND abandon our fears.This song is one which implores us to throw up our hands, abandon our fears and justdance the night away.It is great for those moments in our relationships which reach a turning point.
"What's Going On" is the first of 4 appearances by Marvin Gaye on the Top 25, or twice asmany appearances as any other artist on the list."What's Going On" takes a departure from Gaye's favorite topic, sexual relationships. Welove it all the better for that change, and Marvin comes through with a gem here.
Unfortunately, Gaye fell victim to some of the things he talks about in this song, includingviolence in the black community. He was killed by his father during an argument on April1, 1984. His father was not charged for the murder, as he was acting in self-defense.The pain in both his community and inside himself shows here, especially at the 4:00minute to 5:00 minute mark. The music slows down and his voice begins to shake as hiseyes squint and look like he is about to cry."What's Going on/ What's Happening Brother" is a song that probably still resonates in the black community and with the poor, as their socioeconomic status and the violence in their community has only increased since Marvin's days as a singer, largely due to racism becoming subversive rather than obvert.
21. Marvin Gaye -"Sexual Healing"
 No one makes a booty call sound as sweet as Marvin Gaye."Sexual Healing" is very direct in its meaning, which is softened by Gaye's voice and themusical accompaniment. The song contains whispers with what are some aggressive lyrics,lyrics likewhenever blue tearsdrops are fallin'and my emotional stability is leaving methere is something I can doI can get on the telephone and call you up, babyOk, so Marvin needed some quick loving. We can forgive him for that and just enjoy the beauty of "Sexual Healing."I chose the extended accompaniment because it adds another dimension to the song, sodefinitely check it out after the 4 minute mark. It will be worth your time.
20. The Isley Brothers -"Footsteps in the Dark"
Rappers have sampled the Isley Brothers many times, including their song "Footsteps inthe Dark," which was sampled by Ice Cube in his most memorable track,"Today Was aGood Day."The rap fans among you will recognize the beat from the moment the song starts.The voice contrasts greatly with this beat, it is many octaves above it. It acts as a large sighmost of the song.

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