The Best of 1970’s Soul Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for the best of 1970’s soul music? Look no further than our list of the top 10 soul songs of the decade. From classics like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”, these are the tracks that defined a genre.


The 1970s was a great decade for soul music. With the advent of disco, soul music began to change and evolve. This article will take a look at some of the best soul music of the 1970s.

Disco was a huge influence on soul music in the 1970s. Artists such as Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, and Chic were all big names in disco. Soul music began to incorporate more of the disco sound in the 1970s. This can be seen in songs such as “Last Dance” by Donna Summer and “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge.

The 1970s also saw the rise of singer-songwriters like Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. These artists wrote personal, introspective songs about love, life, and relationships. Songs like “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye and “Super Fly” by Curtis Mayfield became anthems for the African-American community.

The late 1970s saw the rise of funk music. Artists like Parliament-Funkadelic and James Brown began to experiment with extended jams and heavy basslines. This new sound would go on to influence many other genres of music, including hip-hop and rap.

So there you have it, a brief overview of some of the best soul music of the 1970s. This decade was truly a golden age for this genre of music.

The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5, who were previously known as The Jackson Five or The J5, were an American pop band composed of members of the Jackson family. The group was founded in 1965 in Gary, Indiana by brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine, with younger brothers Marlon and Michael joining soon after. The Jackson 5 is one of the few boy bands to have continued success after the death of a member, with Jermaine leaving in 1975 and the band renamed to The Jacksons.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is one of the most successful and influential soul artists of the 1970s. He released a string of hit singles and albums that blanketed the airwaves and helped to redefine the sound of soul music. Wonder’s signature sound was a mix of funk, pop, and R&B that was both danceable and deeply moving. His ability to craft catchy hooks and heartfelt lyrics made him a force to be reckoned with on the charts, and his command of various musical genres helped to make him one of the most versatile and popular soul artists of his generation.

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He helped shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, including “Ain’t That Peculiar”, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”. Gaye’s later work explored social issues such as caches, addiction, and domestic violence. He was shot to death by his father on April 1, 1984.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter and musician. She began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Think”. These hits and more helped her to gain the title The Queen of Soul by the end of the 1960s decade. During this time, Franklin won two consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1967 and 1968.

In 1998, Franklin returned to the top 40 with the Lauryn Hill-produced “A Rose Is Still a Rose”, which peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; this made her the first artist to top the chart with new material in the 1990s after previously having done so in the 1960s (“Respect”) and 1970s (“Something He Can Feel”). In early 2012, Rolling Stone ranked Franklin number one on its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time.


In conclusion, the 1970s was a decade that saw the birth and rise of soul music. With iconic artists such as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder, the 1970s cemented soul music as a genre and gave birth to many subgenres that are still popular today. While the 1970s is often considered to be the golden age of soul music, the genre is still alive and well, with new artists continuing to draw inspiration from the sounds of the past.

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