The fourth and final R&B Grammy of 1967 went to “Soul Man,” Sam and Dave for Best Rhythm and Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental (Two or More).
Arrival at Stax and early Stax singles
When Sam & Dave first arrived at Stax, they worked with producer Jim Stewart and several songwriters, including Steve Cropper, who wrote or co-wrote four of their first eight Stax recordings. The duo quickly gravitated to the emerging songwriting team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter for much of their material. Hayes & Porter had a very significant impact on Sam & Dave’s career, writing and producing all of the duo’s biggest hits (although they did not receive formal production credits until the Soul Men LP and singles). According to both Moore and Prater, they even influenced the duo’s singing style.
While their first two Stax singles failed to chart, their third Stax single, the Hayes/Porter composition “You Don’t Know Like I Know” hit #7 R&B in 1966. This started a string of 10 consecutive Top Twenty R&B chart hits for Sam & Dave over the next three years, and 14 R&B chart appearances overall during their career.
In addition to Hayes-Porter, Sam & Dave’s Stax records also benefitted greatly from working with the Stax house band and Rock Hall of Fame members Booker T. & The MG’s, and the Stax horn section, the Mar-Keys. These highly regarded musicians co-wrote (often without credit) and contributed greatly to the recordings, and are the same musicians who additionally recorded with Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas and other top soul artists. Sam & Dave’s Stax recordings through 1967 were engineered by Stax founder and Co-owner Jim Stewart, who created the “Memphis Sound” at Stax records by recording sessions essentially live in a single take. Stewart is also credited for instrumental mixes in songs that allowed for instrumental separation and the distinct contribution of each instrument to the overall feel of the song. The combination of all of these respected talents contributed to the unique sound and commercial success of Sam & Dave’s Stax recordings. (SOURCE: WIKI SAM & DAVE PAGE)
After “YDKLIK” the hits continued with “Hold On I’m Coming”; “Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody”; “You Got Me Hummin”; and “When Something is Wrong with My Baby”. I loved everyone of these gospel tinged soulful songs. But their historical claim to fame came next …
“Soul Man” single and Soul Men LP
Sam and Dave’s next single was “Soul Man” (R&B #1/Pop #2), released in August 1967. It is for many people Sam & Dave’s best remembered song and the song most closely associated with the duo. Sam & Dave won the Grammy Award in 1967 for “Best Performance – Rhythm & Blues Group” for “Soul Man””, and was also Sam & Dave’s first Gold Record. The “Soul Man” Sam & Dave recording was also voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. “Soul Man” has been recognized by many organizations as one of the best or most influential songs of the past 50 years, including the Grammy Hall of Fame, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone Magazine, and RIAA Songs of the Century. “Soul Man” was also used as the soundtrack and title for both a 1986 film and a 1997–1998 television series.
The accompanying Soul Men LP (October 1967) was Sam & Dave’s third Stax LP, reaching #5 on the R&B charts and #68 Pop. “Soul Men” is considered by Musicologist and Stax Author Rob Bowman to be one of the greatest soul albums of all time. “Don’t Knock It” from the LP was also released as a single in France, but other songs were not released as U.S. singles due to the long run by “Soul Man” on the Pop charts (15 weeks), by which time the single “I Thank You/Wrap it Up” had been recorded and was ready for release. “May I Baby”, the b-side of “Soul Man”, is also regarded as a classic non-hot 100 song on the LP by Whitburn’s “Top Pop Singles” guide. (SOURCE: WIKI SAM & DAVE PAGE)
Samuel Moore and Dave Prater were inducted in the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
Please enjoy this 1967 live performance of “Soul Man” by Sam and Dave backed by the tremendous Stax House band of Booker T. & the MG’s and the Mar-kays (Horns).
Have a safe and happy holiday weekend.