The globally popular and universally influential music genre of Rock has undergone a number of changes, transitions and alterations during its existence. Regardless of which traits spawned its numerous subgenres, most listeners have an idea of what basic characteristics define a rock song. Here’s a better question: What makes a rock song soulful?
Rock’n Roll is unequivocally the defiant, rebellious offspring of traditional soul music; it’s questioned authority, threw tantrums, talked back to its teachers and elders, and stormed out of rooms. Filled with and fueled by unquenchable passion, Rock both snarled at the floor in the darkest basements and smiled at the sky from the highest penthouses. Rock music cursed at itself in the mirror, yelled in its parents’ faces, aggressively stood up for those in need, and cried the hardest at funerals.
Creating soulful rock music is an art.
In Art of Rock & Soul Part I we revealed 10 of the most soulful rock singers of all time. Here in Part II of this LiquidAE.com exclusive Art 101 series we’re revealing 12 more!
Daryl Hall & John Oates Hall and Oates are the perfect marriage of soul singing and songwriting. And while Hall fronts their numerous hit, Oates’ smooth background vocals give each song those harmonious layers you just can’t resist.
Elvis Presley Known famously as “The King of Rock’N Roll”, Presley’s soul-singing legacy is steeped in both hits and controversy. Said to have stolen from a number of notable black artists, Presley openly gave credit to his influences – Fats Domino, Ivory Joe Hunter, and B.B. King. Love him or hate him, Elvis could sing his butt off. RIP
Mick Jagger (of The Rolling Stones) You hear Keith Sweat’s delivery described as whining. Well, one could easily argue The Rolling Stones’ Jagger originated the style. He soulfully cried and crooned the Stones right in the Hall of Fame.
Phil Collins With the group Genesis or solo, Phil Collins brought rhythm and blues to every song he sang, from “I Cant’ Dance” to “In the Air Tonight”. Oh lord, this man is soulful.
Eric Clapton When it comes to mixing blues and rock, Eric Clapton rules this soulful blend. So amazing and influential doing it, the “Change the World” singer/songwriter is the only 3-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – once solo, and once apiece with groups Cream and Yardbirds!
Donald Fagen (of Steely Dan) Steely Dan has the description of being a jazz rock band, but Donald Fagen’s uniquely-toned lead vocal was every bit R&B.
Paul Rodgers (of Bad Company) Former member of group Free, English singer Paul Rodgers with Simon Kirke launched super group Bad Company. But it was Rodgers’ smooth-yet-husky, soulful voice that helped songs like “Feel Like Makin Love” and “Can’t Get Enough” take off.
Bruce Springsteen (with The E Street Band) The Boss sings with such heart-wrenching conviction he makes packed stadium audiences across the globe burst into tears. Bruce Springsteen is indeed a rock icon, blazing a trail with The E Street Band and by his lonesome. When you strip away Springsteen’s star-studded band mates and his collaborations with the best musicians and producers ever, what’s left is a raw soul singer.
Steven Tyler (of Aerosmith) A very legitimate contender for #1 most soulful rock artist ever. Steven Tyler gives his all to a song, sounding spent near its end. When he’s finished low-growling one moment then breaking glass the next, you’re left sweaty right along with him. Aerosmith is “America’s Greatest Rock’n Roll Band”, and Tyler’s soulful falsetto is a big reason why.
Corey Glover (of Living Colour) Here’s another all-time great who could be #1. Corey Glover is a groundbreaking, pioneering rock vocalist who made everyone in the genre step their vocal delivery up. He also opened the doors for Blacks who may have been afraid to openly perform rock music. Glover, as the lead singer of Living Colour, hit the scene like an earthquake in 1988. With Colour, group Galactic, or solo, when Corey sings he shakes your senses; powerful, passionate, and aggressively soulful.
Stevie Nicks Rolling Stone Magazine named Stevie Nicks one their “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”, and with good reason; when Nicks sings she touches people, her soulful bravado penetrating cores for nearly 5 decades. She’s amazing singing lead for Fleetwood Mac, she’s amazing solo.
Ann Wilson (of Heart) Here’s where listing the most soulful rock singers got really difficult. With all honesty, a strong case could be made for Heart’s Ann Wilson to be #1 all-time. Possessing an incredibly strong soul vocal, Ann brings a nearly unrivaled passion to singing rock music. She’s definitely a hard act to follow, even more so when paired with the dubious fire of her sister Nancy. On any concert ticket Ann’s not headlining solo or with Heart, the acts in her wake are left with a lot to live up to. |
CREDITS: Written by Mr. Joe Walker | Additional insight provided by Bowlegged Lou of Full Force, Stokley Williams of Mint Condition, Malina Moye, Leigh Kakaty of Pop Evil, CJ Haynes, Nik West, and DJ Plastic Vibez | Photos –Search Engine Exploration | Producer – Liquid Arts & Entertainment | Creative Director – The Liquidation Committee | Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Copy Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Site Editor – Doug Sims | Webmaster – Doug Sims | Twitter – @LiquidAEMag | Instagram – @liquidmagazine
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