Trying to Explain the Difference between Soul and Rock

Overview

I’ve been working with a lot of college-aged musicians and singers who are not well-versed in Motown and Soul music.  So far, not one of them has asked me “what is soul music” and I’m relieved as I wouldn’t have a clue as to how to answer it without stammering and stating that soul music has, well, “soul”…

This hasn’t stopped me from thinking about just what is is that makes Soul music Soul music and how it differs from Rock and Pop.  I think I’ve found a song that does a good job of illustrating the differences.

Let’s listen to Just One Look and hear how it differs in the hands of a pop group and a soul artist

The Hollies’ Version

Here’s a version of the song that was a monster hit for The Hollies in the UK in 1964.

Great song and great performance.

Doris Troy’s Version

Here’s the original version performed by its composer, Doris Troy.  It reached number 10 on the US Singles chart.  This version just oozes soul.

Wow.

Which version do I prefer?  I really enjoy both (and enjoy watching the baby-faced Graham Nash in the video) but the Doris Troy version really does it for me.

2 thoughts on “Trying to Explain the Difference between Soul and Rock

  1. Laura July 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm Reply

    Believe it or not, I only knew Linda Ronstadt’s version – dare I assert that hers is a soul version? And I knew the commercial bits, of course…

    and

    • swtopshelf July 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm Reply

      Laura, I still think Troy’s version is *the* version of the tune. Rondstadt is somewhere in-between pop and soul

      Hmm… “slop”?

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