Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music from the album Only In America: Atlantic Soul Classics (1967)

Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music from the album Only In America: Atlantic Soul Classics (1967)

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Sweet Soul Music is a soul song, first released by Arthur Conley in 1967. Written by Conley and Otis Redding, it is based on the Sam Cooke song "Yeah Man" from his posthumous album Shake; the opening riff is a quote from Elmer Bernstein's score for the 1960 movie The Magnificent Seven.
It reached the number two spot on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard R&B chart, and #7 on the UK Singles Chart. J. W. Alexander, Sam Cooke's business partner, sued both Redding and Conley for plagiarizing the melody. A settlement was reached in which Cooke's name was added to the writer credits, and Otis Redding agreed to record some songs in the future from Kags Music, a Cooke – JW Alexander enterprise.


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  2. Arthur Conley, known for his 1967 hit "Sweet Soul Music," died on Nov. 17.2003 in Ruurlo, The Netherlands, after a battle with cancer. He was 57. Conley was born in Georgia and started his music career as the lead singer of Arthur and the Corvets in 1959. With this band, Conley released three singles in 1963-64 on Bill Lowery's Atlanta-based National Recording Company label.

    In 1964, he moved to Rufus Mitchell's Ru-Jac label and recorded "I'm a Lonely Stranger." When Otis Redding heard the song, he asked Mitchell to have Conley come to Memphis to record a new version, which was then released on Jotis Records.

    It wasn't until 1967 that Conley actually met Redding, but it would change his life. Redding took Conley under his wings and taught him the workings of the music business. They also together rewrote Sam Cook's "Yeah Man" as "Sweet Soul Music," which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

    Conley was said to have never overcome Redding's December 1967 death in a plane crash. Although he still recorded and toured, he eventually settled in the rural town of Ruurlo in the eastern Netherlands and changed his name to Lee Roberts. There, he was involved in promoting young bands with his own company Art-Con Productions.

  3. Features of This Track

    classic soul qualities
    rock & roll influences
    danceable grooves
    a subtle use of vocal harmony
    call and answer vocal harmony (Antiphony)
    a busy horn section
    major key tonality
    groove based composition
    prominent organ
    upbeat lyrics