695 artists, 4947 songs
During the mid 1960s, visionary artists blended R&B and pop music to create a more sophisticated, urban and sometimes political style known as soul. Influenced by the powerful, emotional, gospel-inspired tunes that Ray Charles sang in the late '50s and early '60s, singers melded influences from other styles such as blues and jazz into a singular style that reflected emerging black pride. James Brown sang soulful ballads as well as funky statements like "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud," while Aretha Franklin celebrated feminist attitudes and civil rights on "Respect." From the pop-influenced Northern sounds of Motown to the tough, raw Southern sounds of Stax, soul vocalists ushered in a new era of individualism and set the foundation for the later development of funk.