Best 70′s and 80′s R&B and Soul Songs

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Old School songs of the 70′s and 80′s have always been my favorite. It seems like every time I listen to oldies I always find a forgotten masterpiece hardly anyone has hard before. I have chosen my personal favorites, these are simply the best i have heard on any music bests list and some of these songs are hard to find also. Enjoy!

Angel

  • Artist: Anita Baker
  • Genre: R&B/Soul

18. Another one bites the dust

  • Artist: Queen
  • Genre: R&B/Soul

17. Portuguese Love

  • Artist: Teena Marie
  • Genre: R&B/Soul

The song peaked at #54 on the R&B chart, and is still a popular tune in the “Quiet Storm” formats. The song was also played during the wedding reception of Toni Childs and Todd Garrett on TV’s Girlfriends.

16. Betcha by Golly Wow

  • Artist: The Stylistics
  • Genre: R&B

It was one of the biggest hits by The Stylistics and released one year after. It made number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and on the UK Singles Chart in 1972 and number thirteen that same year.

At first, the song was recorded in 1970 by the trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s album The Best of Freddie Hubbard. Another early version, “Keep Growing Strong”, was a single release on the Bell label by singer-actress Connie Stevens. But the composition scored a hit when it was released by The Stylistics in 1971, in their first album (The Stylistics) of this Philadelphia soul group.

15. I Keep Forgetting

  • Artist: Michael McDonald
  • Genre: R&B/Soul

McDonald played in several local bands (such as Mike and the Majestics, Jerry Jay and the Sheratons, the Reeb-Toors, the Del Rays and The Guild) while attending McCluer High School in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri, now a city of some 25,000 people in St. Louis County, Missouri. McDonald was ‘discovered’ while playing with a group called Blue and consequently moved to Los Angeles in 1970.

14. Let Me Be Your Angel

  • Artist: Stacey Lattisaw
  • Genre: R&B

When Stacy was a teenager in her early 1980s, she had a string of Top 40 R&B hits, with several songs — “Let Me Be Your Angel,” “Love on a Two Way Street” and “Miracles” — crossing over to the pop mainstream. she recorded her first album for Cotillion Records at the age of 12 in 1979, under the direction of record producer Van McCoy. However it was not until she hooked up with Narada Michael Walden, a former drummer with the Mahavishnu Orchestra who was just beginning a career as a producer, that she became a star.

13. I’d Rather be with you

  • Artist: Bootsy Collins
  • Genre: Funk

William “Bootsy” Collins (born October 26, 1951 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a funk bassist, singer, and songwriter.

Rising to prominence with James Brown in the late 1960s, and with Parliament-Funkadelic in the ’70s, Collins’ driving bass guitar and humorous vocals established him as one of the leading names in funk. Collins is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

12. Geniuos of Love

  • Artist: Tom Tom Club
  • Genre: Nu-Funk

“Genius of Love” was a huge hit, in the clubs and on the R&B and dance charts, soon earning the Tom Tom Club LP a Gold Sales Award in 1982. Despite its relatively low chart position in the United Kingdom, the song received a great deal of airplay on UK radio and became a club favourite in Britain, helped by the popularity of the accompanying video.

The song’s narrator implies that her boyfriend is a “maven of funk mutation” and compares him to James Brown, Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, Hamilton Bohannon, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Sly and Robbie, and Kurtis Blow.They released an updated version of this in 1999 called “Who Feelin’ It,” which mentions a new list of influences.

11. Sara Smile

  • Artist: Hall & Oates
  • Genre: R&B/Soul

Daryl Hall wrote the song for his girlfriend, Sara Allen, and had a cover featuring Hall and Oates overly made-up to the point where they (especially Hall, who had long hair then) looked like women. On an interview with Hall & Oates on VH1′s Behind the Music, Hall looked like “the girl he always wanted to go out with” on the cover.

10. Fantasy

  • Artist: Earth, Wind and Fire
  • Genre: R&B

Earth, Wind & Fire is an world renowed American R&B band led by Maurice White which was formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1969. They are known for a number of hit singles, including “Shining Star” and “September”, and the band is also famous for its fusion of many genres of music into one unique sound.

The band has won six Grammys and have been Grammy nominated twenty times. They have earned more than 50 gold and platinum albums. They have sold over 90 million albums worldwide. Miles Davis is reported to have described EW&F “my favourite” and “the best”. Quincy Jones has proclaimed himself to be “biggest fan of Earth, Wind & Fire since day one.”

9. Always and Forever

  • Artist: Heatwave
  • Genre: R&B

In 1977 their first single, “Boogie Nights” from their debut album, reached number two on the British pop charts in January, and also became a number 2 hit in America in November. The group’s debut album, Too Hot to Handle, finally appeared in late-spring 1977, giving Heatwave a number eleven hit in the U.S. – reaching number five on the R&B charts, while the next single, the soul ballad “Always and Forever”, closed out the year with a number two U.S. R&B hit and #18 pop hit in December.

8. Emotion

  • Artist: Samantha Sang
  • Genre: R&B

“Emotion” is a 1977 single recorded by Australian pop singer Samantha Sang for the Private Stock label. Written by The Bee Gees members Barry & Robin Gibb (who, along with fellow Bee Gee brother Maurice sang background vocals), and produced by Barry, the song was Sang’s only hit single, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. It was featured in the film The Stud (1978) starring Joan Collins.

7. Sail On

  • Artist: Commodores
  • Genre: R&B

6. How deep is Your Love

  • Artist: Bee Gees
  • Genre: R&B

“How Deep Is Your Love” is a song recorded by the Bee Gees in 1977. Originally intended for Yvonne Elliman, it was ultimately used as part of the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever. It was a number three hit in the UK. In the U.S., it topped the Billboard Hot 100 on 24 December 1977 and stayed in the Top 10 for a then-record 17 weeks. The song also spent six weeks atop the U.S.

5. A Dream

  • Artist: Bunny Debarge
  • Genre: R&B

“A Dream” was one of the few songs in which DeBarge member and lone female member, sister Bunny DeBarge played a role as both its songwriter and its lead vocalist while her four brothers (Mark, Randy, El and James DeBarge) sung in the background. The song talked of a woman’s dose of reality when she realizes the happiness she thought she felt with a suitor wasn’t real, recalling how at one point she and her lover “danced to a melody” of a song, then when “the music stops”, she realizes the dream is “haunting (her) again”.

4. I Love you for all Seasons

  • Artist: The Fuzz
  • Genre: Pop

The Fuzz was an American vocal trio from Washington, D.C.. They started out in 1970 as The Passionettes, but changed their name when they signed to Calla Records in 1971. Their self-titled debut came out that year, and the single “I Love You for All Seasons” went Top 10 R&B and peaked at #21 on the US Billboard Pop Singles chart. The follow-up single, “Like an Open Door”, hit #14 on the R&B charts, but further singles had no success and the group split up in 1972

3. Time will Reveal

  • Artist: El Debarge
  • Genre: R&B

“Time Will Reveal” is a 1983 hit single recorded by R&B family quintet DeBarge and released as the first single off the group’s third album, In a Special Way, it was also the group’s biggest hit prior to the group’s 1985 hit, “Rhythm of the Night” and also became one of the most covered R&B singles.

2. Zoom

  • Artist: The Commodores
  • Genre: R&B

The year was 1977 – and this was the album that turned the Commodores into certifiable superstars in the crossover and commercial market. Not that they weren’t popular before – they had a huge R&B following, consistently amazing albums, and some pop music success, but nothing like it was after this album was released. 1977 was the year that the group embarked upon a massive nationwide tour, and their audience grew and grew to monumental proportions. This album was flying off the shelves in the music stores. Three of the songs from it that would go on to be classics were responsible for that. Ad campaigns, movie and TV roles for the funk sextet from Alabama followed as a result.

1. Strawberry Letter 23

  • Artist: Brothers Johnson
  • Genre: R&B

“Strawberry Letter 23″ is a song written by Shuggie Otis, although known most prominently by the version done by The Brothers Johnson. Otis wrote the song for a girlfriend, who used strawberry-scented paper in letters to him. George Johnson of The Brothers Johnson was dating one of Otis’ cousins when he came across Freedom Flight, Otis’ 1972 album that featured the song. The group would later record it for their 1977 album Right On Time, under legendary producer Quincy Jones. The album would go platinum. “Strawberry Letter 23″, as recorded by The Brothers Johnson, in a funkier, more dance oriented vein than the original Otis version, hit the Hot 100 #5 and R&B #1 in 1977. The famous solo in this song was originally recorded by Shuggie Otis. Studio guitar player Lee Ritenour later recreated Shuggie Otis’ original solo for the Brothers Johnson 1977 album.

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