Soul Music: Soundtrack for a Generation

Instructor: Frank Johnson

Wednesdays •  9/18-11/6 • 10:15 AM-12:15 PM • 8 classes

Class size 8 to 26 students
5 seats remaining
Location: Jewett 293

Soul music reached popular heights as different musical styles emerged from major urban areas across the country: Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Memphis, New York and New Orleans. We’ ll listen to the musicians who defined soul music in this era, the labels that produced the music, and other noteworthy contributors. All of the giants – Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Al Green – will be included. The survey will cover the headliners (Wilson Pickett, the Temptations, Sam and Dave, Etta James, Martha and the Vandellas, etc.) as well as the more obscure artists (James Carr, Candi Staton, Bettye Swann, O.V. Wright among others). We’ll consider the girl groups, the male vocal groups, the individual vocalists, the Motown sound, the Stax/Volt roster and the influence of the deep south performers.

The objective of the course is to provide a survey of the music that influenced American popular culture and reflected the mood of the times.Classroom


Frank Johnson has a lifelong passion and interest in African-American music: jazz, blues, rhythm & blues, soul, and Afro-Latin. He has a collection of over 4,000 albums covering these genres. In addition, he has a personal library of over 250 books on African-American musical styles, musicians and cultural influences. Frank is a graduate of University of Maine with a degree in Political Science and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives of State and Local Government.