You’ve heard of the Golden Gate Quartet, right? These are the faces that everyone connects to Jubilee Quartets, but this isn’t the only group that stirred up the familiar style of music of the Jubilee Quartets. The “Soul Stirrers” were also a well-known quartet group that completely changed the original style of gospel music that people commonly heard in these quartets. But how did the Soul Stirrers really change this style of music into their own way, ultimately gaining their popularity from it?
New Pleasant Green Gospel Singers
This name was the start to something great in this quartet’s singing career in September of 1929, but it wasn’t the name that popped and caught the crowd’s attention. One night, after performing, one person who attended their performance, told Senior Roy Crain who originally formed this group, that it “stirred his soul,” and this is where the Soul Stirrers got their unforgettable name.
The "Remix" of Gospel Music
R.H. Harris was a member of the group who was the second tenor. He had an idea of creating a new style of gospel music that wasn’t your typical Jubilee style of music that was prominent for so long. Rather, turning it into something modern would give gospel music a twist that included singing with repeating words from the background singers that the lead singers would sing, and having the concept of ad-libbing lyrics that crowds fell in love with and landed them on the map getting them gigs to perform for President Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill.
The Big Break
Performing for a President and Prime Minister was an accomplishment for the Soul Stirrers, but their big break was when it came to landing their first recording in 1948 for Aladdin, and one of the members, Sam Cooke, being able to incorporate his own way of gospel music by having a form of yodeling onto a record called, “He’ll Make a Way,” and “You Send Me.” Sam was not just a member of the Soul Stirrers, he was also recognized by Elvis Presley which eventually recorded two of his songs called, “Peace in the Valley.”
Eras Change, The Soul Stirrers Don't
There was an enormous amount of new styles that were introduced in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, ranging from disco, hip-hop, grunge, and rap with Whitney Houston, Cher, and Tupac coming on the rise to popularity. Did that mean the Soul Stirrers style came to an end? No! They still remained popular making hits like, “Stand By Me Father,” “Lift Him Up,” and “Trying to be your Friend.” The Soul Stirrers remained their true, authentic selves throughout their time making music going all the back to the 1940’s when they reached their peak. However, some members of the group died from gunshot wounds and getting killed in a fight, but their legacy still lives on.