recommended soul music books

Jun 20, 2023By Neil Greaves
Neil Greaves

If you're a fan of soul music, you know that it's more than just a genre of music. It's a feeling, a way of life, and a culture. And if you're looking to dive deeper into the world of soul music, there are plenty of books that can help you do just that. Here are some of the best soul music books to add to your reading list.

The History of Soul Music


One of the best ways to understand soul music is to learn about its history. "Soul Music: The Birth of a Sound in Black America" by Peter Guralnick is a great place to start. This book explores the roots of soul music and its evolution over the years. It also includes interviews with some of the biggest names in soul music, like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.


soul music

Biographies of Soul Legends

Another way to learn about soul music is to read biographies of the artists who helped shape the genre. "Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin" by David Ritz is a must-read for any fan of soul music. This book tells the story of Franklin's life, from her childhood in Detroit to her rise to fame as the Queen of Soul.

aretha franklin

Autobiographies of Soul Artists

Many soul artists have also written their own autobiographies, giving fans an inside look at their lives and careers. P.P. Arnold's Soul Survivor is that of a rich and varied life. From her early musical origins in powerhouse church gospel, the talented singer's career began when she joined the Ike & Tina Turner Revue at the age of just seventeen. But little did the young Ikette know how much her world was about to be turned upside-down... Now, for the first time, she is telling her story.


maya angelou

The Influence of Soul Music

Soul music has had a huge influence on other genres of music, and "Love Goes to Buildings on Fire" by Will Hermes explores how soul music helped shape the music scene in New York City in the 1970s. This book covers a range of genres, from punk rock to hip-hop, and shows how soul music played a role in the development of each.

new york city

The Business of Soul Music

Finally, if you're interested in the business side of soul music, "Hit Men" by Fredric Dannen is a fascinating read. This book explores the world of music industry executives and how they shaped the careers of some of the biggest names in soul music.


music industry

In Conclusion

These are just a few of the many great soul music books out there. Whether you're a die-hard fan or just looking to learn more about this incredible genre of music, there's a book out there for you. So pick one up, settle in, and let the soulful sounds take you away.