The Soul Flame Burns Bright

The Soul Flame Burns Bright


(Photo: supplied)

As Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” turns 50, we look at the contemporary artists who’ve brought the soul. And no, there's no Michael Bolton…

Red Hot Chili Peppers do Stevie Wonder

In a bold but telling move, Californian funk-rockers showed their musical roots by taking on Stevie Wonder’s classic “Higher Ground”, which first appeared back on his 1973 record Innervisions. Of course, for many music fans whose education was rooted in the ’90s, the RHCP version, which appeared on the act’s fourth record Mother’s Milk, was the first time the song had been heard.



Stevie Wonder

Kelly Clarkson does Otis Redding… and then some

The pop star has never hidden her soul influences, so it was no surprise to find Kelly Clarkson not only take on Otis Redding’s 1962 track “These Arms Of Mine” but also Ben E King’s 1961 classic “Stand By Me”. While not officially released, Clarkson was in her element filming outtakes of the tracks.

Kelly does Otis

Otis original

Kelly does Ben E King

Ben E King

Conor Oberst does Bill Withers

Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst may be more associated with alt-country and folk-blues, but the Nebraska native did a fantastic cover of the Bill Withers classic “Lean On Me” for the soundtrack to the series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street. While it’s hard to beat the 1972 cut that was a hit single from Withers’ second album, Oberst’s unique vocal stylings shows that a fitting homage doesn’t always have to be precise imitation.

Conor Oberst

Bill Withers

Weezer do the Turtles

The soul-pop stylings of the Turtles’ 1967 hit “Happy Together” had the kind of melody and sentiment that sent it straight to the top of the charts at the time. So it comes as no surprise to find that a band with a love of a catchy melody like indie-emo favourites Weezer seized on a cover of it. And it’s not a world away from their 1994 original hit “Buddy Holly”, either.


The Turtles

Jason Mraz does the Bee Gees

While it’s been considered one of the premier pop ballads of the last few decades, the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love” could have come straight out of Motown. And it’s also no surprise to find the soulful, heart-on-sleeve Jason Mraz with a soft spot for the 1977 classic, with the American singer covering it superbly.

Jason Mraz

The Bee Gees

Green Day do the Isley Brothers

In one of the more surprising covers, stadium punk-rockers Green Day took on the Isley Brothers’ 1959 classic Shout for their 2005 live album Bullet In A Bible. Interestingly, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and blues-jazz singer Norah Jones also released an album together, Foreverly, featuring reinterpretations of folk-country stars the Everly Brothers’ 1958 set Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.

Green Day

The Isley Brothers

We've created a fantastic Soul Classics playlist for you on Spotify featuring the greats...

 - Bronwyn Thompson




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