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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


Girl Groups – the Shirelles, the Crystals, the Chiffons, the Orlons, the Ronettes, the Marvelettes, the Velvelettes, Martha & the Vandellas, the Supremes, the Sweet Inspirations, Honey Cone, LaBelle

Male VocalistsGary U.S. Bonds, Joe Jones, Marv Johnson, Ernie K-Doe, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Benny Spellman, Arthur Alexander, Jimmy Hughes, Solomon Burke, Garnett Mimms, Don Covay, Lee Dorsey, Jackie Wilson, Bobby Hebb, Percy Sledge, James Carr, Jackie Wilson, Jimmy Ruffin, Aaron Neville, J.J. Jackson, Arthur Conley, Joe Tex, Fantastic Johnny C, Joe Simon, Clarence Carter, King Floyd, O.V. Wright, Bill Withers, Al Wilson

Chicago/Philadelphia/and Othersthe Impressions, the Dells, Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites, Tyrone Davis, Major Lance, Bobby Moore & the Rhythm Aces, the Spinners, the Stylistics, the Delfonics, Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, the O’Jays, Billy Paul, Chairmen of the Board, the Capitols, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Archie Bell & the Drells, Charles Wright & the 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Friends of Distinction

Female VocalistsBarbara George, Mary Wells, Barbara Lynn, Dee Dee Sharp, Etta James, Irma Thomas, Betty Everett, Jan Bradley, Barbara Lewis, Doris Troy, Mitty Collier, Brenda Holloway, Kim Weston, Fontella Bass, Bettye Swann, Dee Dee Warwick, Candi Staton, Linda Lyndell, Jean Knight, Betty Wright, Ann Peebles, Shirley Brown

More Motown the Contours, the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Isley Brothers, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Smokey Robins & the Miracles, Jr. Walker & the All Stars, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye & Tammie Terrell

Stax/Voltthe Mar Keys, William Bell, Booker T & the MGs, Carla Thomas, Mabel John, Ruby Johnson, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, the Bar-Kays, Johnnie Taylor, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, the Dramatics, Isaac Hayes

Five Distinctive Male Singers
Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Al Green

The Queen of Soul, the Godfather and the King –
James Brown, Aretha Franklin, King Curtis

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.