Short VersionI like soul music and countdowns and am always making lists like this (though usually not up to 1,000) and decided to post it. The unexpected bonus is getting to see all of the videos (for the clothes as much as the music), though there aren't videos for all. My plan is to post one a day and add to a cumulated recap every 20 songs.
The first soul song I can remember liking a lot was Backfield in Motion by Mel and Tim in 1969, since it was about sports (at least that's what I thought, but I was only 9). I think I became a true fan in 1971 when I listened to my transistor a lot and songs like Whatcha See is Whatcha Get, Treat Her Like a Lady, and the Theme from Shaft were big hits. They were just songs I liked, though, and I didn't really identify myself as a soul fan until I won a Stevie Wonder album from a radio station in 1974 (Fullfillingness' First Finale). A few months later I joined the Columbia Record Club and got four albums (well, cassettes) at once: Al Green's Greatest Hits, That's the Way of the World by Earth Wind & Fire, Why Can't We Be Friends by War, and The Heat Is On by the Isley Brothers and by then I was hooked....in fact all four of those albums have at least one song in my top 100.
As for countdowns, the first one I listened to was on Thanksgiving weekend, 1969, when a bay area station (must have been KFRC, KLIV, or KYA) counted down the top 100 of the decade. I still remember the top five: She Loves You, Light My Fire, Hey Jude, Satisfaction, and at the top: I Want to Hold Your Hand. A month later I listened to the top 100 of the year and was quite disappointed that Honky Tonk Women (a song I was supposed to like, and liked well enough) was number 1 instead of Sugar Sugar (a song I wasn't supposed to like, but did. A lot), when the decade countdown had the Archies' classic (a classic according to me at 9 years old...okay, and according to me at 50 too) at #9 and the Stones' at #15. That this was an issue to me was an early indicator that I would take countdowns way too seriously. I didn't discover Kasey Kasem until the summer of 1974 (the first week I listened, Annie's Song kept Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me from reaching number one, which at the time seemed all wrong, but now I fully support).
For this countdown I'm including anything vaguely soul-ish from 1960 through 1979. Ranked in order of how much I like them today. 1,000 seems like a lot, but I left a lot of good ones off, and when you've got You Ought to Be with Me in the 990's it means there must be a lot of great songs (according to me at least) ahead of it. Not all of these songs were released as singles, but most were.
Choosing videos: Links are to videos when possible, rather than stills, but only if the videos are fairly close to the time the song was a hit. You can find plenty of Spinners and Temptations performances from the 90's and 00's, but who knows if any of them are even original members. And live Aretha or Stevie from 2009 is just not the same. So in those cases, we favor the no-video, but original record.
This Top 1,000 will change I'm sure, because I still find songs I never heard from those years, or songs I must have heard but don't remember. Most recently, I just heard Baby Let Me Take You by the Detroit Emeralds for the first time ever (I think) a week ago and slipped in to the 1,000...a top 30 song from 1972 and I missed it back then somehow. I've already changed the #1 song once and probably will again a few more times before I finally get to the top, which, if I keep to my plan of 7 posts a week (or 6 once in a while), will be sometime in early 2014.