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Sam Cooke And The Soul Stirrers - JPop.com
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Sam Cooke And The Soul Stirrers

Sam Cooke And The Soul Stirrers

Sam Cooke And The Soul Stirrers


One of the most popular and influential gospel groups of the 20th century, The Soul Stirrers were pioneers in the development of the quartet style of gospel and, without intending it, in the creation of soul music, the secular music that owed much to gospel. The group was formed by Roy Crain, who had launched his first quartet, which sang in a jubilee style, in 1926 in Trinity, Texas. In the early 1930s, after Crain moved to Houston, he joined an existing group on the condition that it change its name to "The Soul Stirrers. Read more on Last.fm
One of the most popular and influential gospel groups of the 20th century, The Soul Stirrers were pioneers in the development of the quartet style of gospel and, without intending it, in the creation of soul music, the secular music that owed much to gospel. The group was formed by Roy Crain, who had launched his first quartet, which sang in a jubilee style, in 1926 in Trinity, Texas. In the early 1930s, after Crain moved to Houston, he joined an existing group on the condition that it change its name to "The Soul Stirrers." Among the members of that group was R.H. Harris, who soon became its musical leader. Harris, also from Trinity, Texas, brought several changes to the Soul Stirrers that affected gospel quartet singing generally. He used a falsetto style that may have its antecedents in African music, but which was new to the popular jubilee singing style of the time.

He pioneered the "swing lead", in which two singers would share the job of leading the song, allowing virtuoso singers to increase the emotional intensity of the song as the lead passed between them. That innovation led the Soul Stirrers, while still called a quartet, to acquire five members; later groups would have as many as seven but still consider themselves "quartets", which referred more to their style than their number. The Soul Stirrers made other important changes in those years: ad-libbing lyrics, singing in delayed time, and repeating words in the background as both a rhythmic and emotional support for the lead singers. The Soul Stirrers dropped the "flatfooted" style of jubilee quartets before them and expanded their repertoire from spirituals and traditional hymns to the newer gospel compositions. The group also loosened the rigid arrangements that jubilee quartets had favored to permit individual singers within the group more space for individual development. In 1936 Alan Lomax recorded the Soul Stirrers for the Library of Congress's American music project.

They later moved to Chicago, where they broadcast a weekly radio show. Their nationwide touring gained them an even larger audience, as they delivered the emotional fervor that popular jubilee groups, such as the Golden Gate Quartet, did not. The Soul Stirrers signed with Specialty Records, where they recorded a number of tracks, including "By and By" and "In that Awful Hour". Harris, the most popular member of the group, soon quit, however, in order to form a new group. He was replaced by the then-unknown Sam Cooke. Musicians and critics today recognize Sam cooke as one of the founders of soul music, and as one of the most important singers in soul music history.

He has been called "the king of soul" by many, and while some may dispute this title, Sam Cooke's legacy is an extensive one and his impact on soul music is undeniable. He had 29 Top 40 hits in the U.S. between 1957 and 1965. He is therefore seen by many as "the creator" of the genre.

Major hits like "You Send Me", "Chain Gang", "Wonderful World" and "Bring It on Home to Me" are some of his most popular songs. Cooke was also among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career. He founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. He also took an active part in the Civil Rights Movement, using his musical ability to bridge gaps between black and white audiences. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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