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Oldies Music Glossary: "Blue-Eyed Soul"


A Righteous Brothers'

A Righteous Brothers' "blue eyed soul" LP

source: geocities.com
Definition: Few terminologies in the rock world come packed with as much explosive potential as "blue-eyed soul": some consider the very use of the term to be racist, a theory somewhat borne out by the even more unfortunate, related term "white soul." In the end, however, "blue eyed" soul has approximately the same relationship to soul as "rock and roll" does to the blues: in both instances, pop artists with a natural affinity for roots music incorporate it into their music. The fact that most blue-eyed soul and rock stars happen to be white, while most old-school blues and soul stars are black, says more about the racial division of the times they came from than the artists themselves. Michael Bolton is no more a blue-eyed soulster than Pat Boone is a rock god.

Indeed, the very fact that blue-eyed soul appeared on the scene at the same time as its root music would seem to mitigate against it being a mere white man's ripoff. The Rascals came from a pop place yet had real soul, yet they're thought of differently than, say, Sly and the Family Stone, who made much the same journey, but in the other direction. A pop or pop-rock song that contains strong gospelish elements is more likely to be considered BES (Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets") than soul musicians aiming for the pop charts (Motown).

Most BES started out heavily orchestrated, as with the Righteous Brothers and Walker Brothers, but like its counterpart, became grittier (or not) according to the times, but blue-eyers who get a little too good (or too pure) risk being recategorized, like Van Morrison or Joe Cocker. And the trend continues today: through the Eighties, acts like Hall and Oates and Paul Young paved the way for contemporary blue-eyed soulsters like Amy Winehouse and Duffy.

Also Known As: White soul, pop-soul
Alternate Spellings: blue eyed soul
  1. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin," The Righteous Brothers
  2. "People Got To Be Free," The Rascals
  3. "Treat Her Right," Roy Head
  4. "Soul Deep," The Box Tops
  5. "Son Of A Preacher Man," Dusty Springfield
  6. "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)," Van Morrison
  7. "I Saw The Light," Todd Rundgren
  8. "Rich Girl," Hall and Oates
  9. "What A Fool Believes," The Doobie Brothers
  10. "Lido Shuffle," Boz Scaggs
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  6. Blue Eyed Soul Music - What is Blue Eyed Soul Music? - Oldies Music Songs and Artists

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