Top 7 Soul Music Icons of the 70s

By: Bryan K.

In the 1970s, seven soul music stars were super popular. Marvin Gaye made cool music mixing soul, R&B, and messages in hits like 'What's Going On.' Aretha Franklin, the 'Queen of Soul,' sang strong in 'R E S P E C T,' inspiring women in music.

Stevie Wonder mixed soul, pop, and R&B in hits like 'Superstition.' These stars, like Diana Ross, Al Green, Gladys Knight, and Curtis Mayfield, shaped music in the '70s with their unique styles and powerful voices.

Let's explore the soulful stars of the '70s!

Main Points

  • Marvin Gaye: Marvin Gaye sang about problems in society in the song 'What's Going On'.
  • Aretha Franklin: Aretha Franklin showed strength and fairness in her song 'R E S P E C T'.
  • Stevie Wonder: Stevie Wonder combined soul, pop, and R&B in his music in a new way.
  • Diana Ross: Diana Ross had a successful solo career and a unique style.
  • Al Green: Al Green sang soulful songs like 'Let's Stay Together' that touched people's hearts.

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye changed music in the 70s with his amazing voice and songs about important things. He made hits that people loved and also made a big impact on culture that we still feel now. Gaye mixed soul, R&B, and messages about society, making him stand out from other artists.

His album 'What's Going On' from 1971 shows how much Gaye mattered. He talked about poverty, drugs, and the environment in his songs. Gaye spoke up for people who didn't have a voice, starting conversations and making people want to make things better.

Gaye also did new things in the studio. He was one of the first to control everything about his music, like making and arranging it. This showed how good he was at different things and set a new standard for freedom in music.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was a famous singer in the 1970s. People called her the 'Queen of Soul.' She sang with a lot of power and moved crowds all around the world. Her most famous song was 'R E S P E C T,' which became a symbol of strength and fairness. Aretha could make you feel her emotions in every song she sang. She was a true legend of soul music.

Aretha Franklin broke barriers in the 1970s. She showed that women could be just as successful as men in the music world. Her soulful voice touched people's hearts and inspired many. Aretha mixed gospel, R&B, and soul music in a new way that influenced future artists.

Aretha Franklin was more than just a great singer. She could make you feel things and think deeply through her songs.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder changed soul music in the 70s with his new sound and meaningful words. His famous albums like 'Innervisions' and 'Songs in the Key of Life' show how talented he is.

Songs like 'Superstition' and 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours' made him one of the best musicians ever.

Stevies Musical Influence

Stevie Wonder influenced many musicians. His music is still popular today. He mixed soul, pop, and R&B in new ways. This shaped music in the 70s.

Artists from different backgrounds like his music. Stevie's songs talk about love and unity. He cares about social justice.

Singers today copy his style. They like how he sings and writes songs. Music connects people thanks to artists like Stevie Wonder.

Iconic Albums and Hits

Stevie Wonder was a big star in the 70s with his hit albums and songs. His albums like 'Innervisions' and 'Songs in the Key of Life' are still popular today.

Songs like 'Superstition' and 'Isn't She Lovely' show how talented he is. He mixes soul, funk, and pop music in a unique way. People of all ages love his music.

Artists today still look up to him. Stevie Wonder is one of the best soul musicians ever because he makes emotional and innovative music.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross was a famous singer in the 70s. She had many hit songs and wore stylish clothes. People still love her music today.

Diana Ross is a big inspiration for singers now. She sang well and looked amazing on stage. Fans all over the world enjoyed her shows.

Diana Ross is a true music icon.

Dianas Groundbreaking Solo Career

Diana Ross had a very successful career singing on her own in the 1970s. She became really famous in the music world. Starting from her time at Motown, Ross became a big solo star with her strong singing and amazing stage presence.

People all over the world loved her unforgettable shows and songs, making her a true soul music legend of that time. Ross stood out by connecting deeply with her fans through her heartfelt lyrics and exciting performances. Songs like 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' and 'I'm Coming Out' showed how talented and versatile she was, inspiring future musicians.

Ross's solo career didn't just show off her amazing voice but also how she could break barriers and make a lasting impression on music history.

Iconic Fashion Moments

In the 70s, Diana Ross wore stunning outfits that amazed people all over the world. Her fashion choices were bold and elegant, showing confidence and style.

Ross didn't just sing on stage; she also showed off amazing clothes and accessories that were perfect for the time. She wore sparkly dresses and colorful jumpsuits, mixing glamour with a bit of creativity.

Her fashion sense inspired many people. Diana Ross didn't just wear clothes; she showed her creativity and originality, becoming a true fashion icon of the 70s.

Influence on Future Artists

Diana Ross's cool 70s outfits wowed people all over the world. Her unique style influenced many future artists. They liked how she mixed soulful music with pop. This made them try new things in their own songs.

Ross also showed them how to be confident on stage. She inspired them to be themselves and break the rules. Artists learned to use fashion to express who they are. They also saw how Ross challenged traditional ideas about gender.

Her influence reached artists from different cultures, inspiring them to be creative.

Al Green

In the early 1970s, Al Green sang with a soulful voice that people all over the world loved. He mixed gospel and R&B music in a special way. Green grew up as a preacher's son in Arkansas, which influenced his music a lot. His smooth singing, combined with the Memphis style of music, made him famous.

Green put a lot of feeling into his songs, like the hit 'Let's Stay Together,' which touched people's hearts. His music didn't just entertain – it also motivated a whole generation. He opened doors for future artists to explore soul and R&B music more deeply.

Al Green was a true innovator and had a big impact on soul music in the 70s. His timeless songs still enchant audiences today, proving he's a legendary musician.

Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight sang soul music in the 70s. She had a strong voice that wowed crowds all over the world. People loved her music then and still do today for several reasons:

  • She sang different kinds of songs: Gladys Knight could sing happy and sad songs.
  • She sang with other famous singers: Gladys Knight collaborated with other renowned musicians, making her music special.
  • She tried new things: Gladys Knight wasn't afraid to experiment with new sounds, making her music unique.
  • She sang with a lot of feeling: Gladys Knight's emotive singing stirred strong emotions in listeners, endearing them to her music.
  • She was amazing on stage: Gladys Knight's performances were nothing short of magical, captivating audiences with her stage presence.

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield's soul music is special because he mixed catchy tunes with important messages. His songs talked about hope, power, and making things better. Unlike other singers, Mayfield sang about things like civil rights and change.

His high voice and cool guitar playing made his music different and liked by many people. Mayfield didn't just sing for fun; he sang to make a difference and help others. His songs like 'People Get Ready' and 'Move on Up' became famous for inspiring people to work together and make the world better.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Lesser-Known Collaborations or Duets That Marvin Gaye Participated in During the 70s?

Marvin Gaye sang with Diana Ross on "You're a Special Part of Me" and with Tammi Terrell on "The Onion Song" in the 70s. These songs show how music was different back then.

How Did Aretha Franklin's Personal Life and Struggles Impact Her Music and Career During This Decade?

In the 70s, Aretha Franklin faced personal challenges and societal pressures. These struggles influenced her music a lot. Aretha poured her raw emotions into her songs. Her strength and determination showed in every song she sang. Aretha's music from this time still moves people today.

Can You Provide Insight Into Stevie Wonder's Songwriting Process and the Inspiration Behind Some of His Biggest Hits in the 70s?

Stevie Wonder wrote his famous songs in the '70s by using his talent and feelings. He got ideas from his life and things happening in the world. His songs mixed soul, R&B, and pop styles to create hits that people loved.

What Challenges Did Diana Ross Face as a Solo Artist After Leaving the Supremes and How Did She Overcome Them?

Diana Ross had a hard time after leaving The Supremes. She faced many challenges as a solo singer. But she didn't give up. She worked hard and didn't let anything stop her. She made changes, tried new things, and found her own path to success. Her talent and strength made her a legend in the music world.

How Did Al Green's Transition From Secular to Gospel Music in the Late 70S Affect His Fan Base and Overall Popularity?

When Al Green started singing gospel music in the late '70s, some fans liked it, and some missed his old songs. But overall, people still loved his music. Green showed he could sing different styles well.


In the 70s, soul music icons like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder made unforgettable songs. Their music still inspires artists today.

Their powerful voices and meaningful lyrics touched the hearts of many. When you listen to their timeless tunes, you feel a deep connection.

So, when you need soulful music, just play songs by these legendary artists.

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