The King of Soul: Marvin Gaye

 

 

– Marvin Pentz Gay was born in April 2, 1939.

– He is also known as Marvin Gaye

– Gaye produced records and wrote songs for himself and other artists

– Gaye started his career at four years old in the Pentecostal church

– He was a part of his JHS Glee Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1962, Gaye and Reese Palmer formed a group called The Marquees. Gaye then went solo, composing his own music. Listeners would make fun of his last name which is when he decided to add the “e” to the end. Gaye felt more optimistic about his career once his first solo hit made No. 8 on the charts. 


Gaye's Hits

In 1963, Gaye’s single “Can I get a Witness” reached global stages. Soul music was made to touch the soul. Soul was mutated out of different genres that came before. From gospel to blues to even funk. Soul was made to make people move and feel the music within the soul. Gaye did just that with this single. 




In 1970, Gaye released two more songs that made top ten on the charts. His album “What’s Goin On” was seen as the most passionate record to come out of soul music. Gaye won two Grammy’s for this album and signed a deal with Motown. 



Gaye started making music very early in his childhood. It took him branching out on his own to really be seen. He’s an icon. Gaye will always be remembered for the music he made. He embodied the definition of soul. 

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Soul

Soul music, originated in the late 1950s in the United States, is a musical genre that combines rhythm and blues and gospel music (Nero, Mark E.). Blues was a style that praised the fleshly desire whereas gospel coincided with spiritual inspiration. R&B, a combination of blues and jazz, bloomed in the 1940s as small groups of majority black musicians (Nero, Mark E.) . Soul is differentiated from R&B by its use of gospel-music devices, merged religious and secular things as well as its great emphasis on vocalists. The earliest pioneers of soul music include Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and James Brown. Solomon Burke was also very influential in the popularization of soul music with his soul classics of the early 1960s recordings, “Cry to Me”, “Just Out of Reach” and “Down in the Valley” (New World Encyclopedia). Joe Tex’s 1965 “The Love You Save” is a classic Soul recording as well.

Soul music was born in Memphis, Tennessee and in the southern US where most of the soul performing artists were from. In Memphis, Staxx Records produced recordings by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Don Covay. Owned by Quinton Claunch, another notable label from Memphis was Goldwax Records. Goldwax signed O. V. Wright and James Carr, who made several hits that are considered essentials of the genre.

There are a variety of types of Soul music including: Southern Soul, Neo-Soul, and Psychedelic Soul (which created a path for 1960s Funk Music). The addition of Soul in white musical groups was then called, “Blue-Eyed Soul” (New World Encyclopedia). Popular contemporary Soul music includes artists such as Mary J. Blige, Anthony Hamilton, Joss Stone, and Raphael Saadiq (Nero, Mark E.).

The aesthetic of Soul music is derived from musical and preaching traditions of Blacks in the church. Soul music carries out many different vocal styles. Many soul artists incorporate shouts, hollers, moans, and screams into their songs. Soul music incorporates many different voices with varying range. It is common for many artist to improvise in order  to build the intensity of the song. In order to build the climactic points of song,  artists often repeat words, phrases, or the entire section of song to an instrumental or vocal piece (Cadenza). It is also common for performers to display the intensity of a song with the use of their body. This is commonly illustrated by James Brown.

The unique sound of soul is distinctive not only because of its origin but also because the instruments used to create a unique sounds. Soul music is loose while at the same time it is also tight and rhythmically precise. Typically, musicians use the electric bass, drums, electric guitar, and a brass section.

Authors: Baheejah Crumbley, Nafessia Johnson, and Christina Flakes

 

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Works Cited

Burnim, Mellonee V., and Portia K. Maultsby. African American Music An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.

Nero, Mark Edward. The Definition of Soul. 10 October 2016. 2017 November 2017. <https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-soul-music-2851218>.

NewWorldEncyclopedia. Soul Music. 12 October 2015. 4 November 2017. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Soul_music>

Shah, Rina. “Instruments Used in Soul Music.” Our Pastimes, Leaf Group Ltd, 2017, ourpastimes.com/instruments-used-in-soul-music-12228200.html.

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