September 3, 2008 Evening Pages – Philip’s Blue Eyed Soul Hall of Fame, Pt. 1

Gonna take this morning to talk about “Blue Eyed Soul.” Now, some folks love the term, others hate it. Myself, I find it makes it a lot easier to effectively tell people what kind of sound I have. Yes, of course, it’s all Soul Music. But “Blue Eyed” is a distinction that only a few of us can truly pull off well. Here’s my quick tribute to the best of the best:

(I started this list, and I know I’m forgetting someone. I also realized this is going to be a 2-part blog. Forgive me.)

Elvis Presley


Got to give it up for the first. Elvis was really the first white guy to fool the masses into thinking he was black. His voice gave him the huge crossover it took the pioneer a whole new sound.

Jerry Lee Lewis


Taking the best of what Elvis had and adding his own sass and, more importantly, piano to the mix.

The Righteous Brothers


The original Blue Eyed Soul duo. Bill Medley’s voice alone is about a dark as they come.

Teena Marie


One of the first Blue Eyed Soul divas. You can’t deny how sultry and funky this girl is.

Bobby Caldwell


Just take a listen to “What You Won’t Do For Love” and tell me this guy doesn’t have soul.

Daryl Hall


Probably one of my biggest influences. Hall took vocal smoothness and combined it with keyboard elegance and sharp songwriting. A soul god in his own right.

John Oates

Not to be ignored but rather highlighted as his own entity. John Oates was more than simply the quiet half of a legendary duo. He composed and produced for several acts in the 80’s and 90’s to leave a strong legacy of his own.

Michael McDonald

More than likely my single biggest influence in this genre. Michael McDonald’s voice took smooth to the same kind of level that Hall’s took agressive. But what really separates Michael Mc Donald from the pack is this sheer brilliance as a songwriter. His songs evoke passion, change, heartache and romance all at the same time. No one writes like this guy these days.

Bobby Kimball


Possibly overshadowed due to the fact that he’s with a group. But this, the original Toto lead singer, has a range and a mastery of voice that very few have. Bobby was probably one of the first guys I heard that could truly “riff” like a black vocalist but still keep the edge of a rock star.

Gino Vanelli

Gino Vanelli, from classic rock to classical music!

This Canadian Soulster stuck a resonant chord with smash hits like “I Just Wanna Stop” and “Living Inside Myself.” But the best gems from this guy are ones that never hit the airwaves. And songwriting! Don’t even get me started. Take a listen to “Lucky Man” and tell me this guy isn’t coming from somewhere uniquely genuine.

Boz Scaggs


Smooth, elegant, with a very dark soulful voice. Boz is undeniably someone you immediate go to for solid 70’s soul, of any color.


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