The 10 best soul singers can sell any song with a powerful voice. Whether smooth, ragged, or just plain powerful, emotion is the key to the the success of the ten best soul singers of all time. The best soul singers can make a gospel tune sound like a love song or a protest song like a paean to God. Here are the ten best soul singers of all time:
- Marvin Gaye – There is no doubt that Marvin Gaye tops the list of the best soul singers of all time. He sang protest songs ("What's Going On") and loverman tracks ("Let's Get it On") with equal power. And that voice could not be topped.
- Aretha Franklin – The Queen of Soul originally got "Respect" by stealing the song from another of the best soul singers of all time, Otis Redding. Redding bowed down and admitted Aretha's version was better; that's truly a story fitting one of the best soul singers of all time.
- Sam Cooke – Cut down in his prime, it's impossible to know the impact Cooke could have had. But we do know the impact that he did have, and it was great enough to rank him number three on the list of best soul singers of all time.
- Stevie Wonder – Little Stevie changed the game in the seventies, paving the way for the conscious soul of Marvin Gaye's later work as well as his own. Beyond that, his voice conveyed pain and joy in equal measure, a signature of the best soul singers of all time.
- Otis Redding – Another soul prodigy cut down in his prime, Otis brought the hard, gritty Memphis sound to the masses. Live performance was his specialty; he truly was a soul evangelist and one of the best soul singers of all time.
- Prince – With his ability to move from deep baritone to falsetto in an instant, Prince is one of the most talented vocalists ever. That he changed the soul game for the eighties only adds to his legacy.
- Al Green – The Reverend Al was one of the most successful singers of the seventies. Who knows how many children were conceived to the sounds of the Reverend Al in his prime?
- James Brown – The Godfather of Soul may not have had the pure vocal talent of some of the others on the list of the best soul singers, but he made up for it with effort and charisma. He was also a brilliant writer, creating the funk genre along the way.
- Chaka Khan – The frontwoman of Rufus who gained more notoriety than her band, Chaka Khan had a big booming voice and a ton of sexual power in her singing. Turning the Stevie Wonder-written "Tell Me Something Good" into a bedroom anthem for the ages is the most prominent moment in a career full of them.
- Levi Stubbs – The Four Tops frontman had a voice that transcended Motown. He is a fitting final entry on the list of best soul singers of all time.
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