10 Best Male Soul Singers

The ten best male soul singers can be described in many ways. Some singers like Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye had that satin sound, while James Brown added a dash of funk to his soul, Michael Jackson's soul lead with the pop influence, and Stevie Wonder could mix different flavors into his soul and serve you a beautiful medley. These are ten of the most influential and lasting singers in the soul music genre.

  1. Sam Cooke. Cooke started out as a gospel singer in his early days. With his soft soulful tone, Cooke sang his first real hit in 1957 called “You Send Me.” Later in his career, he leaned toward a darker tone in “ A Change is Gonna Come.”

  1. Marvin Gaye. Inventor of “Sophisticated Soul,” Gaye 's 1965 hit "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" brought him into the mainstream and his hit “I heard It Through The Grapevine” was the pinnacle of the Motown Sound. Gaye's smooth delivery led to him being one of ten best male soul singers in history.

  1. Michael Jackson. The argument can be made that he is the “King of Pop,” but he is technically a soul singer that was thrust into the pop genre. Michael was the most celebrated Jackson because of his energy and early in his career, his soulful passion. Michael will be best known to music purists as one of ten best male soul singers.

  1. Otis Redding. Redding was a pioneer in the R& B / Soul genre. With over thirty singles including “Dock of the Bay” and “These Arms of Mine,” Redding established himself to be an originator of soul music. Over forty years later, he is known as one of the ten best male soul singers.

  1. Frankie Lymon. In his short life, Lymon was the centerpiece of the group called “Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.” With his high, yet smooth delivery, Lymon sang “Why do fools fall in love?” and “Goody, Goody” which he sang on Ed Sullivan. Lymon is considered a top ten best male soul singer.

  1. David Ruffin. One of the greatest singers in the history of soul music and of the Motown Sound, Ruffin sang with pain and sadness that seemed genuine. With songs such as “ I Wish It Would Rain” and “My Girl,” he became the cornerstone of The Temptations and established himself as one of the ten best male soul singers in the world.

  1. Ray Charles. Charles tore through music barriers by fusing gospel, jazz and blues to create the genesis of what was to be known as soul music. With the ballad “Georgia on My Mind,” Ray Charles became known as one of the best male soul singers of all time.

  1. Stevie Wonder. Playing music since the age of twelve, Wonder began singing soul and playing the harmonica at a very young age, and he only got better from there. With “Uptight(Everything's Alright)” and “Superstition” to his early hits, he became one of the best male soul singers to start at an early age and continue on into adulthood.

  1. James Brown. Named “ The Godfather of Soul,” Brown started singing in gospel groups before branching out on his own and creating a soul empire. Brown created hit after hit starting in the 1960's and was a guest numerous times on “Soul Train.” Brown is a major influence on musicians from all over the world, and he left a lasting legacy in becoming one of the best male soul singers that ever lived.

  1. Levi Stubbs. Lead singer of the legendary Soul and R& B groups “The Four Tops," Stubbs began performing in 1954 and led his group to many hit singles in the soul genre including “Baby I Need Your Loving.” Fiercely loyal to his band mates, he turned down many offers to sing solo and remained with them until 1997. With his baritone voice, Stubbs is known as one of the best male soul singers in music.

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