Sydney Recording Studios: Another gospel singer who changed gospel songs into secular songs was Sam Cooke. Sam had joined the gospel group Soul Stirrers as a teenager, but he was forced to leave the group in 1956 after recording the song Lovable, a secular version of the group’s gospel song Wonderful. His beautiful yet powerful voice can be heard on his first 1957 crossover hit You Send Me. The song was so popular that it replaced Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock at the top of the pop-music charts. It was the first of nearly thirty crossover hits he recorded before writing his last and greatest song A Change is Gonna Come in 1964. The song expressed his yearning for an end to racism, but before it was released Sam was murdered in Los Angeles. Even though his life was cut short, his success opened the way for many other African American soul singers.

Sydney Recording Studios: Northern Soul: Detroit and Chicago

The most popular style of soul music in the early-60s was Motown’s pop soul. In 1959, businessman Berry Gordy started Motown Records in the northern city of Detroit, Michigan. His songwriters and artists created the “Motown sound” and produced dozens of pop-soul hits that young Americans loved. Motown had nearly eighty top-ten crossover hits from 1960 to 1969, and Motown’s house band the Funk Brothers played on nearly all of them. They were skilled jazz musicians who could also make great pop music. They made the rhythms on Motown songs easy for white listeners to hear and dance to by playing tambourine and rhythm guitar on the second and fourth beats of each bar. They also had female singers like Diana Ross and The Supremes use girlie pop-music voices instead of their natural bluesy voices, as blues great Etta James had done on her classic soul song I’d Rather Go Blind.
Sydney Recording Studios