Drawn from a mosaic of influences, including folk, gospel, and blues, R&B represents both everything that came before and nothing that was heard before. This is the music that bridged the gap between audiences and helped, at the very height of racism in America, to dismantle racial barriers. So much of today's music is derived directly from the highly influential and critically important sounds of R&B that without it we would have never known the classic soul of the late '50s and '60s, the glory days of the genre. Similarly, rock n' roll as seen through the eyes of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley would have never evolved without the foundation laid by their R&B predecessors. Through substantial entries on the chief architects and innovators, Icons of R&B and Soul offers a vibrant overview of the music's impact in American culture and how it reflected contemporary society's politics, trends, and social issues.
Numerous sidebars highlight Motown, prominent record labels, hit songs, related singers and songwriters, key events, and significant aspects of the music industry. Also included is a list of important print and Web resources, as well as a list of selected recordings. An essential reference for high school and public libraries, this encyclopedia will help students explore the historical and cultural framework of R&B and soul music through the musicians who have come to define the genre. Among the featured: Ray Charles, Little Richard, Fats Domino & New Orleans R&B, Ruth Brown, Sam Cooke, Etta James, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Otis Redding, Ike & Tina Turner, Curtis Mayfield, Berry Gordy, and Stevie Wonder.