Otis Ray Redding was an American soul singer-songwriter and record producer.
Although he was not very successful among white audiences in the United States, the opposite was true in Europe. His performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 was one of his last big concerts until his death in a plane crash at the age of 26. One month later, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was released, which sold about 4 million copies worldwide and would be his biggest hit. Redding is seen to be one of the major figures in soul/R&B and this eventually resulted in the honorific nickname "King of Soul".



Arthur Lee Conley (January 4, 1946 – November 17, 2003) was an American soul singer, best known for the 1967 hit "Sweet Soul Music".
It proved to be a massive hit, going to the number two position on the U.S. charts and the Top Ten across much of Europe. "Sweet Soul Music" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.



Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music and rock. 
Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time as well as the ninth greatest artist of all time.  
She has won 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys. 
She has 20 No.1 singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and two No.1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Respect" (1967) and "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (1987), a duet with George Michael
Since 1961, she has scored a total of 45 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She also has the most million-selling singles of any female artist.



Booker T. & the M.G.'s is an instrumental R&B band that was influential in shaping the sound of southern soul and Memphis soul
In the 1960s, as members of the house band of Stax Records, they played on hundreds of recordings by artists such as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Sam & Dave, Carla and Rufus Thomas and Johnnie Taylor.
They also released instrumental records under their own name, such as the 1962 hit single "Green Onions". As originators of the unique Stax sound, the group was one of the most prolific, respected, and imitated of their era.
By the mid-1960s, bands on both sides of the Atlantic were trying to sound like Booker T. & the M.G.'s.



Mary Esther Wells (May 13, 1943 – July 26, 1992) was an American singer who helped to define the emerging sound of Motown in the early 1960s.
Along with The Miracles, The Temptations, The Supremes, and the Four Tops, Wells was said to have been part of the charge in black music onto radio stations and record shelves of mainstream America, "bridging the color lines in music at the time."
With a string of hit singles composed mainly by Smokey Robinson, including "Two Lovers" (1962), the Grammy-nominated "You Beat Me to the Punch" (1962) and her signature hit, "My Guy" (1964), she became recognized as "The Queen of Motown" until her departure from the company in 1964, at the height of her popularity. She was one of Motown's first singing superstars.



Eddie Lee Floyd (born June 25, 1937) is an American soul/R&B singer and songwriter, best known for his work on the Stax record label in the 1960s and 1970s and the song "Knock on Wood".
Floyd was one of Stax's most consistent and versatile artists. He scored several more hits on his own, including "I Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)" and "Raise Your Hand", which was covered by both Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen.
The song "Big Bird" (featuring Booker T. Jones on organ and guitar, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums, and Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass) was written while Floyd waited in a London airport for a plane back to the United States for Otis Redding's funeral. Although not a US hit, it became an underground favorite in the UK, was later covered by The Jam, and was featured on the video game, Test Drive Unlimited.
Floyd's career did not keep him from being one of the label's most productive writers. Virtually every Stax artist recorded Floyd material.



Samuel Cook, (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964), better known under the stage name Sam Cooke, was an American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur.
He is considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music. He is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocal abilities and influence on the modern world of music.
Cooke had 29 top-40 hits in the U.S. between 1957 and 1964. Major hits like "You Send Me", "A Change Is Gonna Come", "Cupid", "Chain Gang", "Wonderful World", and "Twistin' the Night Away" are some of his most popular songs.
Cooke was also among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career. He founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. He also took an active part in the American Civil Rights Movement.



Rufus Thomas, Jr. (March 27, 1917 – December 15, 2001) was an American rhythm and blues, funk and soul singer and comedian from Memphis, Tennessee, who recorded on Sun Records in the 1950s and on Stax Records in the 1960s and 1970s.
The prime of Rufus' recording career came in the 1960s and early 1970s, when he was on the roster of Memphis label, Stax, having one of the first hit sides at the historic soul and blues label, "Walking the Dog", (#5 R&B, #10 Pop) in 1963. 
The early 1970s brought him three major hits, including "(Do The) Push and Pull" in 1970, his only number one R&B hit (#25 Pop). Earlier that year, "Do the Funky Chicken" had reached #5 R&B and #28 Pop. A third dance-oriented release in 1971, "The Breakdown" climbed to #2 R&B and #31 Pop. He had several more less successful hits until Stax closed its doors in the mid-70s.



Benjamin Earl King (born September 28, 1938), better known as Ben E. King, is an American soul singer. He is perhaps best known as the singer and co.composer of "Stand by Me", a U.S. Top 10 Hit  in both 1961 and 1986 and a  # 1 hit in the UK in 1987, and as one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group The Drifters.



Sam & Dave were an American soul and rhythm and blues (R&B) duo who performed together from 1961 through 1981. 
Sam & Dave are members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and are Grammy Award and multiple gold record award winning artists. According to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Sam & Dave were the most successful soul duo, and brought the sounds of the black gospel church to pop music with their call-and-response records. Recorded primarily at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1965 through 1968, these included "Soul Man", "Hold On, I'm Comin", "I Thank You", "When Something is Wrong with My Baby", "Wrap It Up", and many other Southern Soul classics.
Nicknamed "Double Dynamite", "The Sultans of Sweat", and "The Dynamic Duo" for their gritty, gospel-infused performances, Sam & Dave were one of the greatest live acts of the 1960s.



Wilson Pickett (March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006) was an American R&B/Soul singer and songwriter.
A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the US R&B charts, and frequently crossed over to the US Billboard Hot 100. Among his best known hits are "In the Midnight Hour" (which he co-wrote), "Land of 1,000 Dances", "Mustang Sally", and "Funky Broadway".
The impact of Pickett's songwriting and recording led to his 1991 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.