List of 1970s Soul Music

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A list of the best 1970s Soul Music, including Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder, with links to listen to each artist.


The 1970s was a decade of change for soul music. The genre had exploded in popularity in the late 1960s, but by the end of the decade, a new sound was beginning to take hold. Artists like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder were experimenting with longer, more complex song structures, while others incorporated elements of funk and disco into their music. This list features some of the best soul songs of the 1970s.

List of 1970s Soul Music

List of 1970s soul music artists, groups, and bands. This list of 1970s soul music artists includes, in alphabetical order, the most prominent and successful musicians, bands, and groups who have defined the genre.

Al Green

Al Green (born April 13, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter and record producer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including “Take Me to the River”, “Tired of Being Alone”, “I’m Still in Love with You”, “Love and Happiness”, and his signature song, “Let’s Stay Together”. Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Green was referred to on the museum’s site as being “one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music”. He has also been referred to as “The Last of the Great Soul Singers”.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter and musician. She is a multi-Grammy Award-winning artist who is widely considered to be one of the most influential singers of her generation. Franklin began her career 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. In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria “Nessun dorma”, at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti. Later that same year, she scored her final Top 40 pop hit with a duet with George Michael titled “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”.

Franklin continued to record acclaimed albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s including Amazing Grace (1972), Sparkle (1976), Lady Soul (1978),Aretha (1980), Who’s Zoomin’ Who? (1985), and One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism (1987). Aretha Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards; she is one of the best-selling female artists of all time having sold over 75 million records worldwide.

Barry White

Barry White (born Barry Eugene Carter; September 12, 1944 – July 4, 2003) was an American singer and record producer. He is credited with helping to shape the sound of love music and bringing sensuality back to rhythm and blues. His distinctive voice and production style influenced numerous other artists and helped create an entire subgenre of soul, known as “urban contemporary”.

White’s greatest success came in the 1970s with a string of Top 10 singles including “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe”, “Love’s Theme”, “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby”, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything”, and “What Am I Gonna Do with You”. All nine of his studio albums charted in the Top 40 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart between 1973 and 1978. He also charted 20 times on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart between 1974 and 2001, including 14 No. 1 singles.

In addition to his work in music, White also found success as an actor and television producer. In 1975 he played the role of The enumerator in the film Uptown Saturday Night. From 1976 to 1979 he produced The Barry White Show on NBC-TV which was syndicated internationally. In later years he carried out numerous product endorsements, such as becoming the spokesperson for 7 Up for several years in the 1980s.

Bill Withers

Bill Withers (born July 4, 1938) is an American singer-songwriter and musician who performed and recorded from 1970 until 1985. He recorded several major hits, including “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Grandma’s Hands”, “Lean on Me”, “Use Me”, “Lovely Day”, and “Lean on Me”. Withers won three Grammy Awards and was nominated for four more. His life was the subject of the 2009 documentary film Still Bill. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack is an American singer-songwriter and musician, who has influenced the development of soul music. Bobby Womack was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and was the youngest of three brothers. He began his musical career singing gospel music as a child, and later joined his brothers in a doo-wop group called the Valentinos which had success in the early 1960s with songs like “It’s All Over Now”. After the Valentinos broke up, Womack’s solo career began to take off, and he released his debut album Fly Me to the Moon in 1968.

Womack’s style of soul music was influenced by gospel, doo-wop, and R&B. His lyrics often dealt with social issues such as love, heartbreak, and poverty. Bobby Womack had several hits in the 1970s including “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha”, “Woman’s Gotta Have It”, “Harry Hippie”, and “Across 110th Street”. He continued to record and perform throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

Carole King

Carole King (born Carol Joan Klein; February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later as a solo artist. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999. King’s major success began in the 1960s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. Her records sales were estimated at more than million copies worldwide. She was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. She is the recipient of four Grammy Awards, a BRIT Award, an American Music Award, a Golden Globe Award, and she has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (presented by President Barack Obama).

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an American soul, gospel, and R&B singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer with a highly influential role in the development of soul and funk. He helped to bring an socially conscious perspective to these genres that had previously been dominated by themes related to dancing, love affairs and other simple pleasures. Curtis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, which became one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. As part of the Supremes, Ross most notably topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart twelve times from 1964 to 1969, including seven times consecutively from 1964 to 1965; she also became the first female artist to have two number-one albums on the US Billboard 200 chart with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1970) and Lady Sings the Blues (1972). Eventually leaving The Supremes in early 1970 to pursue a solo career, Ross’ success continued with hit singles such as ” Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”, ” You Can’t Hurry Love”, ” You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, ” Love Child” and her signature duet with Lionel Richie , ” Endless Love”.

During her solo career, Ross has amassed a total of seventy four hit singles, including thirty one top 40 hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. She has released eighteen number 1 singles on the R&B charts; including twenty two on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Her work as a producer led to her being awarded legend status at the annual BMI Awards in 2015. In 1983 she was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her performance as star Mae West in Willow Rosenberg’s film Mae West.[4] In 1988 she received a Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement in entertainment. In 2012 she received an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of her extraordinary achievements as an artist and humanitarian.[5]

Ross has continued acting throughout her music career, starring in Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Mahogany (1975), The Wiz (1978) and Out of Sight (1998). She also made guest appearances on television programs such as The Muppet Show (1976), Sesame Street (1981), American Idol (2010) and Glee (2011).

Donny Hathaway

Donny Edward Hathaway (October 1, 1945 – January 13, 1979) was an American soul musician, singer, and songwriter. Many of his recordings were released by Atlantic Records. Hathaway signed with Atlantic in 1969 and with his first single for the label, “The Ghetto”, in early 1970 he reached the Top 40 of the US pop charts and the Top 5 of the US R&B charts. His greatest commercial successes were “The Ghetto” (1970), “Someday We’ll All Be Free” (1973) and bass hist “Where Is The Love” (1972).

Gladys Knight & the Pips

Gladys Knight & the Pips were an American R&B/soul family musical act from Atlanta, Georgia that remained active on the music charts and performing circuit for three decades. Starting out as a teenage group known as The Pips in 1952, the founding members were siblings Merald “Bubba” Knight and William Guest, along with cousins Edward Patten and Faye Treadwell (who left the group shortly after they were formed). After a couple of years performing in talent shows and working as minders for James Brown’s band, they signed with Brunswick Records in 1957.

By 1961, Gladys Knight had become the main lead singer of the group. Along with Bobby Taylor, she helped lead them to hit records such as “Every Beat of My Heart” (1961), “Letter Full of Tears” (1962), “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1967) and “If I Were Your Woman” (1970). Overcoming an initial reputation for being too soft, Knight helped make The Pips relevant during the disco era with such hit singles as “Do You Love Me?” (1973), “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” (1974) and Midnight Train to Georgia”, which became their signature tune.

The group was especially successful during the 1970s, winning several Grammy Awards with their string of hits including; ‘I Feel A Song’, ‘Love Overboard’, ‘Neither One Of Us’ and ‘Save The Overtime For Me’. Having achieved 12 number one singles on Billboard’s R&B chart during their career, Gladys Knight & The Pips were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.


In conclusion, there were many great soul music artists in the 1970s. These artists created a sound that was unique to their time and place, and that has influenced subsequent generations of musicians. If you’re a fan of soul music, be sure to check out some of the artists on this list.

Similar Posts