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I’ve Got the Rhythm & Blues

The genre of rhythm and blues, better known as R&B music, has a particular sound.  Sometimes, the sound mimics moods of heartache, pain, failures, and triumphs.  Originally started during the 1940’s, R&B music was played mostly for the African-American population; however, over the decades since then, it has become widespread throughout various singers and musical bands.

Rhythm and blues have played a part in influencing the town of Birmingham for many years. There are several R&B bands and clubs throughout the city.  There are also R&B festivals that are held annually around town. 

R&B music combines many genres.  Sounds of soul, gospel, funk, hip hop, and pop music can all be heard in various musical selections.  Typically, instruments such as the piano, guitar, drums, saxophone, and keyboard are used to create the sounds of R&B. 

The lyrics of rhythm and blues songs often have poignant messages.  They tend to focus on serious issues of people’s lives, including aspirations, relationships, and economics.  They are often sung in a very melodic fashion and with a lot of heart.

Some very popular R&B songs include “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, “Walk on By” by Isaac Hayes, and “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.  As you can see from this vast array of musicians listed, R&B music has evolved over the past few decades and includes a wide variety of singers. 

Renowned country singer, Johnny Cash, stated in one of his songs, “Get rhythm when you get the blues”.  This is evidence that R&B has even crossed over into the country music genre.  Johnny Cash has many songs that have the melody of a R&B song, as well as lyrics that include pain and suffering.

During the 1960’s, many British bands were referred to as bands that played R&B music.  These bands included The Who and the Rolling Stones.  In fact, on The Who’s poster that was displayed during the year 1964, the slogan read, “Maximum R&B”.  This was a form of advertisement for the popular band.

R&B is a type of music that can touch a person deep in their soul.  Musicians who sing R&B songs usually appear calm and relaxed, even though they may sing songs that are emotionally strong and heart-wrenching.  Once a person discovers their favorite R&B songs, it is likely that they will remember them for many years to come.  R&B music is touching and unforgettable.