The “blue-eyed soul” label has been applied to the likes of Justin Timberlake, Teena Marie, Michael McDonald and Amy Winehouse. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Danny Clinch; Mishca Richter)
Photo: Pete Corson
Photo: Pete Corson

Your complete AJC Sepia guide to blue-eyed soul

AJC Sepia Spotify Playlist: Blue-eyed Soul

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. 

»Related: AJC Sepia African-American Music Appreciation Month Playlist 

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."

»RELATED: Follow AJC Sepia on Facebook to read more stories like this.

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.”

Dusty Springfield, who was English, was one of the early queens of blue-eyed soul with her “Son of a Preacher Man.

 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.” 

Hall and Oates dominated the pop and R&B charts in the 1970s and 1980s, with songs like "Sara Smile" and "She's Gone."

»RELATED: AJC Sepia Family Reunion & Summer Cookout Music Playlist

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.” 

“Blue-eyed soul,” trailblazers, The Righteous Brothers, Bobby Hatfield, left, and Bill Medley perform before being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the 18th Annual induction ceremony in 2003, at New York's Waldorf Astoria. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The Playlist was curated by several AJC staffers that you should follow on Twitter: Ernie SuggsRosalind BentleyPete CorsonLeroy ChapmanRaisa HabershamKimeko McCoyDavid Gibson, Nedra Rhone, Shelia Poole and Stephanie Toone.

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