Including this double dude…
Literally nothing is more embarrassing than having someone burst into the shower just as you’re about to hit your peak during an emotive soul recital. You’re naked, you’re squealing, those vocal runs you’re doing are much more impressive in your head, they’re pointing at you and sharing crude pictures with their mates on Instagram. It’s a sorry situation for everyone involved. But that wouldn’t be a problem for any of these guys, who can sing the fuck out of shit because they’re bloody amazing… MY FAVOURITE MALE SOUL SINGERS LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Feel free to go absolutely apeshit in the comments section because I’ve got it all wrong and didn’t include Stevie Wonder…
The greatest of them all, his voice is smoother than a long piece of wood you’ve spent the last week sanding down for eight hours a day without stopping. Do the maths, that’s basically smooth as fuck. Stupidly, he decided to kill himself in 1979 by jumping out of a window. I was just three at the time, which is neither here nor there.
It’s nuts to think that Otis Redding was just 26 when he was killed in a plane crash, he sounds so mature and borderline-elderly when he sings. Confession time guys! Otis Blue is one of the few records I own that I could listen to from start to finish every single day without tiring of. I have no idea why I just made out that was a big confession.
You might not have heard of this cat, because Frankie Beverly was never a solo star in his own right. He sung with the band Maze in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and possibly beyond, and those cats were funkier than a stink on a hot summer’s day. Some of you might have noticed that I’ve suddenly started saying “cat” a lot in this paragraph. Go with it, I’m just trying it out.
Bobby Womack’s enjoying another blast in the sunshine after collaborating with Damon Albarn on that album about a year ago. Everyone liked it because it combined modern day sounds with old style singing. I didn’t listen to it because I’m a bearded vinyl twat who pretends to only like old stuff like 1970s albums and vintage shirts. I do love Bobby Womack though, he always sounds about this close to a violent coughing fit.
I’m going through a big Isley Brothers moment that doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. I love them because they looked like a great big pile of fat black Elvis impersonators, I like that they could throw down serious funk jams next to syrupy soul ballads. I adore them especially because Ron Isley has one of the most slippery voices the world has ever seen. And I mean that in a good way.
If I had to pick my favourite Marvin Gaye album I’d go for I Want You because it’s the sexiest record ever made, full of secret messages in between the lines saying stuff like “come here woman” and “I’m gonna hold you real tight”. Chicks love that kind of shit. I also like What’s Going On, Trouble Man, Let’s Get It On, Here My Dear, and basically every other record he ever made.
Whether fat or thin Luther could sing the phone book and while everyone would listen for a minute then whisper “is this guy actually singing the PHONE BOOK?” to each other with an incredulous look in their eyes, they’d all agree that the lyrics might be boring as fuck, but that fat guy’s got the voice of an angel.
When I was a student in Bristol I spent my days frying up pieces of bread for my world famous fried bread fried bread sandwiches and listening to Brown Sugar by D’Angelo. Man that cat could groove. That’s right everyone I’m back to saying “cat” again. Deal with it.
Obviously I’m never going to die, but if I did – IF I DID – during the bit where my coffin is lowered into the ground while all manner of beautiful women in black howl to the heavens I’d like someone to put on Hercules by Aaron Neville. It tells the story of a man just trying to get through life and deal with the struggles. I know what you’re thinking – that’s me in a nutshell. Great song, and what a voice.
Ah man, the last spot was always going to be a nightmare. Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, even Lionel Richie had a shout. Then you’ve got Bill Withers and Gil Scott-Heron who I adore. Terry Callier’s amazing. Sam Cooke. White soul singers like Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart. James Brown who grunted a lot but could also sing amazingly well, Michael Jackson who took soul to the billions. Smokey Robinson, any of the Temptations, I even like R Kelly a little bit. But in the end I went with Willie Hutch who’s just plain wicked.
Marvin Gaye, I Want You
Site regulars will be easy to spot today – they’ll be the ones with a thin film of sweat covering their hungry bodies, their blouses/shirts undone just enough to give you a glimpse of the goods, and you might even be able to hear the soft echo of a rumbling in their loins. It is, after all, Thursday. The most sexually charged day of the week. We like to celebrate Thursdays by playing a sensual love song, and today it’s the turn of Marvin Gaye to explain to his woman that he wants to go to bed and have sex, which he does without ever actually standing up to spell it out.
Marvin Gaye, A Funky Space Reincarnation
You might only know Hulk Hogan from Rocky III, in which he played the part of a wrestler called Thunderlips – he was overlooked by the Academy, but his performance was very solid. He even held his own up against Sly Stallone. Others might know him from Thunder in Paradise, a television programme about ex-Navy SEALS who have become local guns-for-hire on a dreamy holiday resort. The rest will know him because he’s a gigantic wrestler who is turning 56 today. Hence we thought we’d get him a gift, so we organised an enormous conference, hired an entire hotel, went around a room asking thirty or so very reluctant employees to introduce themselves and tell a funny story about something hilarious that once happened to them, underwent a series of very pointless and time consuming bonding exercises which did nothing but further alienate the shyer members of the team, endured extremely awkward conversations with higher ranking colleagues who appeared to be attempting to hide the thin-lipped greed that drives them to the very highest highs professionally, but has left them both socially and sexually impotent. Then, FINALLY, we got round to the gift ideas, and all immediately agreed on either a survival knife or a Marvin Gaye song. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Hulk Hogan!
Slap Chop Rap
If you don’t know who Charlize Theron is, you can count yourself very unlucky. She’s a beautiful woman. So beautiful that she once confidentally strode around naked in a perfume advert to a Marvin Gaye backing track. So beautiful that her face is really pretty. So beautiful that she had to make herself look hideously ugly by wearing a Freddy Krueger mask and adopting a Deep South drawl to win a beloved Oscar. So beautiful that we thought we’d get her a gift, so we all headed to the local swimming baths to squeeze in a few laps and talk business, before it boiled down to a toss up between some mirrored goggles, or a funny clip discovered by friend of the site Spencer. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Charlize Theron!
No room for this gentleman…
In tragic music icon terms, Michael Jackson actually lived a fairly long and prosperous life. He made it to half a century, which isn’t bad at all. Elvis only got as far as 42, John Lennon made it to 40 before taking four bullets in the back, and Michael Hutchence was still a fairly youthful 37. Keith Moon and John Bonham made it fashionable for great drummers to die at 32. Then, of course, you have all of the rock stars who couldn’t make it past 27 – Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison. Gram Parsons was even younger at 26, as was Otis Redding when he died in a plane crash. Tupac was 25, Notorious BIG 24, Ian Curtis 23, and Sid Vicious and Eddie Cochran were barely grown ups at just 21. In fact, the list of tragic early deaths is relatively endless. So with that in mind, we thought it high time to select the four most unfortunate, as decided by us…
1. Jimi Hendrix, 27
It was a very sad day for music in 1970 when Hendrix apparently lay on his back, choking on his own sick, thanks to a few too many red wines. The whole thing still smells a little bit fishy, with rumours floating around that it might not have simply been the innocent death of a drinker. Either way, it robbed the world of a fantastic music man, who managed to mix rock, soul and psychedelic stuff really really well. He keeps the likes of Steve Marriott, Janis Joplin, Marc Bolan and Phil Lynott out of the top four, and, to really put things in perspective, without Hendrix we probably wouldn’t have Prince. What kind of rubbish world would that be?
2. Minnie Riperton, 31
One of the great female soul singers, Riperton died of the damn cancer when she was 31. But what a 31 years. She’ll always be remembered for Lovin’ You, a slightly drippy love song, but we’ll forever love her for the rock/soul numbers she did with Rotary Connection, Les Fleurs, and the rather graphic sex song, Inside My Love. With so many excellent soul singers to choose from, she has achieved the remarkable feat of keeping Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke out of the top four. That’s a very big score for the sisterhood.
3. Keith Moon, 32
There were a few decent dead drummers to choose from, but Keith Moon just beat Dennis Wilson and John Bonham to grab a place in the top four. He edged it for being more of a total maniac. Famous for driving cars into pools, flushing explosives down toilets, and for being a completely brilliant drummer in The Who, he died after taking too many anti-alcohol pills in 1978. He’d just been out for dinner with Paul and Linda McCartney, which presumably had nothing to do with the overdose.
4. Big L, 24
The rap game has seen lots of premature deaths – Easy E, Big Pun, Tupac, Scott La Rock, Jay Dee, Biggie Smalls, Jam Master Jay, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. But the one that really makes us slam our fists and weep up to the heavens screaming “why?” is Big L‘s. We honestly think he could have been the greatest rapper of all time, but instead he took seven bullets to the head and chest one evening in 1999. The murder remains unsolved, which makes it double annoying.
Oh, there is lots going on
As statements of intent go, they don’t come much more potent and honest as the What’s Going On cover. To the naked eye, it mightn’t look radical – just another picture of a bearded guy in latex. But, should you flick back through your excellent collection of Marvin Gaye records before this 1971 release, you’ll notice that every single cover was shot in a nice clean studio, Gaye in a suit, and this is the first one featuring his trademark facial arrangement. Plus, if you really squint, you’ll notice the beads of cold rain in his hair, and spattered down the side of his gigantic jacket collars. That means that this iconic photograph was taken on a rainy day – no one ever takes iconic pictures on rainy days! Essentially Gaye is declaring the album sleeve unimportant, as, it seems, are his Motown bosses. The whisper on the street being that Berry Gordy – legendary record honcho – thought it was rubbish, which clearly explains the no-expense-spent sleeve. It went on to sell about a million trillion copies, of course, rainy-face cover or not.
Enjoy a fantastic live performance after the jump…
Sorry Collins, no room at the inn
It’s difficult to pinpoint the coolest area of a band. Is it around the frontman/woman? Or is it at the back with the mentalist thrashing around on the drums? One thing is for sure, wherever Phil Collins lays his hat, it isn’t there. And, Ringo couldn’t plump Lennon, Harrison, nor McCartney for cool points either. Some people, however, have managed to occupy the front of stage, and the back of house, and have sparkled in both areas. Here is a rundown of our favourite drummers-slash-singers…
1 Chaka Khan
We all knew that Chaka Khan was a whole hunk of woman, with a voice so sharp and funky that it could cut through concrete, but who knew she could play the drums excellently as well? The perfect wife.
These boys and girls had it GOING ORN!
Everyone knows how brilliant Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and the rest were/are. But what about the ones who drifted ever so slightly under the radar? We decided to shine the spotlight back on them…
1. Shuggie Otis
If Hendrix was the ultimate rock guitarist, Shuggie Otis was the ultimate soul guitarist. As a teenager he was considered a musical genius, and at just 21 he made the record Inspiration Information, a stone soul classic. Back in the 70s he turned down a chance to join The Rolling Stones – Ronnie Wood took his place instead. Most recently, he did some odds and ends with the world’s second favourite conscious rapper, Mos Def.