Let’s be real. This could easily be a Hall & Oates playlist.
After celebrating African-American Music Appreciation Month, then showing you how to get down at a Family Reunion, and to mark Amy Winehouse’s birthday (Sept. 14), AJC Sepia is back with its latest Spotify Playlist: Blue-eyed Soul.
For the uninitiated, “blue-eyed soul” is a term that became popular in the mid-1960s to describe soul and R&B music performed and sung by white musicians. Among the earliest to carry the genre were the Righteous Brothers with songs like "You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling."
In the following years, they were followed by the likes of Bobby Caldwell (who knew?), Teena Marie, Michael McDonald and Hall & Oates, who dominated the pop and R&B charts in the 1970s and 1980s.
“The good thing about blue-eyed soul is it doesn't mimic African-American cultural production. Singers like Dusty Springfield, the Righteous Brothers, (and) KC & the Sunshine Band can't replicate the emotion of black performers,” said Christopher A. Daniel, a music journalist and visiting faculty in the Department of Communication at Georgia State University. “But they do express their appreciation for their predecessors.”
While we have labeled this playlist “Blue-eyed soul,” we have not restricted it just soul. We have dug deep into the crates to explore jazz, disco, rap, hip-hop and even gospel.
“It's even more awesome that the majority of blue-eyed soul artists, especially as of late, are from across the pond,” Daniel said. “So this inherit nostalgia and homage for the past will always preserve our culture while acknowledging how black artists are the architects of popular music.”
We hope some of it will surprise you (Bobby Caldwell?) and all of it will get you grooving to some “blue eyed soul.”
And to quote Malcolm X, “some of them have brown eyes too.”
The Playlist was curated by several AJC staffers that you should follow on Twitter: Ernie Suggs, Rosalind Bentley, Pete Corson, Leroy Chapman, Raisa Habersham, Kimeko McCoy, David Gibson, Nedra Rhone, Shelia Poole and Stephanie Toone.