There are hard rock bands (Jimi Hendrix, Living Colour), punk (Bad Brains), funk-rock (Fishbone), and alt-rock (TV on the Radio) that feature Black artists. But can you think of a Black soft-rock band?
I'm not too familiar with rock as a genre so there could be an obvious act out there. But outside of Hootie & the Blowfish nothing else comes to mind.
Like is there a Black Weezer or Belle and Sebastian out there?
5. "You Know, That's A Good Question" In response to Reply # 0 Sat Jun-27-20 01:03 AM by Dj Joey Joe
I've always felt that r&b acts basically did everything from doo wop, soul, disco, funk, yauht-rock, boogie, electro-funk, smooth jazz, new jack swing, & pop, but record labels never considered their music in the same category as their white counterparts who did soft rock, blue-eyed soul, shoegaze, new wave, etc.
It's tons of r&b artists who had guitars in their music or had rock elements in their sound but they still were considered r&b and soul artists regardless.
Once in a while you will find artists like Michael Jackson, Sade, Prince, Aaron Neville, Mother's Finest, Seal, Terence Trent D'Arby, & Meshell Ndgeocello, either in rock or r&b section of a record store and sometimes in both depending on the management.
>I've always felt that r&b acts basically did everything from >doo wop, soul, disco, funk, yauht-rock, boogie, electro-funk, >smooth jazz, new jack swing, & pop, but record labels never >considered their music in the same category as their white >counterparts who did soft rock, blue-eyed soul, shoegaze, new >wave, etc. >
This was very much the case. Different artists have spoken on this. James Brown said Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" wasn't an R&B song at all but a Pop song and was only called R&B because he was black. If I recall correctly, they spent a good bit of time on that topic in the documentary I watched. Any music back then by a black person was just "Black Music" or "Race Music" as they'd call it.
6. "I can think of a decent list..." In response to Reply # 0
Laura Love Black, Native American, and white. She's been described as "afro-celtic" (which just looks to me like the refuse to refer to someone who looks like her as simply "celtic") or bluegrass. She doesn't get the credit she deserves. "Bang Bang" is one of my favorite songs by her.
Labi Siffre No doubt his most recognizable song would be "I Got The..." because the second half was sampled by Dr. Dre for Slim Shady, but he's mostly a folk artist. His other most recognizable songs might be "It Must Be Love" and "Loving Laughing Crying Lying" due to the covers. Imo he's one of he most brilliant singer songwriters the industry has ever seen and would be a bonafied legend if he were white... and straight.
Cree Summer She only made one album (Street Fairie) but it was very much soft rock, and I loved it.
Kenna You probably know of him. Really outside the box, musically and found some success with Neptune production. His whole songwriting approach is very much alternative rock.
Lenny Kravitz No explanation needed there
The Family Stand Their first album "Moon In Scorpio" had more rock on it, but even on the more R&B leaning "Connected" they had joints like "What Must I Do Now" and "Don't Ask Why."
On that note, here are more who were either genre benders with many rock songs or albums in their catalogs or classified as something other than rock simply due to them being black.
Ike & Tina Turner (recorded "Drift Away" in the middle of an album and it didn't sound out of place at all)
Shuggie Otis (the original Strawberry Letter 23 could be this post's theme song)
Terence Trent D'arby aka Sananda Maitreya
Me'Shell Ndegeocello (an album like "Weather" for instance)
8. "im gonna add Alana Davis to this list..." In response to Reply # 6 Sat Jun-27-20 07:28 AM by Voodoochilde
to be clear, im a 'fight the genre' guy but for fun, i'll join in the game here
....starting with her first stellar record "Blame it On Me" in the 90s (which was one of my faves back then, and STILL sounds as refreshing today as it did then) id say, yeah, Alana Davis should be added to this list too...
also another artist who first broke out in the 90s, Dionne Farris...add her too.
and as you mentioned, Meshell too of course, some of her stuff surely would fit into that 'soft rock' genre .... well, you know, if one HAS to do the 'genre thing' that is
10. "RE: im gonna add Alana Davis to this list..." In response to Reply # 8
>to be clear, im a 'fight the genre' guy but for fun, i'll >join in the game here > >....starting with her first stellar record "Blame it On Me" >in the 90s (which was one of my faves back then, and STILL >sounds as refreshing today as it did then) id say, yeah, >Alana Davis should be added to this list too... > >also another artist who first broke out in the 90s, Dionne >Farris...add her too. > >and as you mentioned, Meshell too of course, some of her stuff >surely would fit into that 'soft rock' genre .... well, you >know, if one HAS to do the 'genre thing' that is > > Bruh, I still play her first album on a fairly regular basis. I don't know how she wasn't bigger as an artist.
9. ""soft rock" is pretty meaningless" In response to Reply # 0
as a genre label, I think. And I don't mean that as a dismissive comment, just to suggest that the question itself might not work if the core of the question ("soft rock") is ambiguous. It held enough weight to describe radio formats but I'm not sure that it offers anything coherent as a genre descriptor, especially across larger swaths of time. The most coherent period for the label is probably the more singer-songwriter leaning stuff of the '70s - Carole King, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Carpenters, etc - but where does it go in the 80s? In the 90s? You can argue certain trajectories (Hall & Oates/"yacht rock") but I that sound is distinct enough that I'd hesitate to lump it in with soft rock...
All of that said, I think you could make a good argument that at least a certain section of 70s and 80s soul effectively intersected with "soft rock" as it came to be tagged and labeled -- I'm thinking of folks like Roberta, Donny, Minnie, maybe even Nina Simone -- like, you can hear it all right alongside each other and it makes perfect sense, there's no disconnect, and of course there's plenty of explicit cross-pollination in terms of covers, studio musicians, etc. Of course, the racial politics of the music business meant it probably didn't get played in that way very often... (although maybe it did more than we realize -- you hear all sorts of anecdotes about how radio in the 70s and early 80s was more eclectic in formatting than now)
The other thing I thought, taking it into the late 70s and 80s, is Quiet Storm -- which again, probably isn't so much a genre as a radio format (though much more coherent than soft rock itself probably every was).