Ten Best Atlantic Songs
In 1947, an erudite Turkish man and a Jewish dental student got together and changed the music business, in both sound and practices, for good and for better.
Over the years they became a powerhouse of contemporary popular music, branching out and taking on massive rock and country acts. Although it is the soul side -the side that is so often spuriously credited as "Motown" - that we will be studying today.
It is impossible to get close to encapsulating the Atlantic story in one little list, but hopefully you will tell us your favourites in the comments section (on here, not Facebook please!)
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Do Right Man Do Right Woman: Aretha Franklin
After a comparatively fruitless six years at Columbia, the Queen of Soul came over to Atlantic with almost immediate postive results. The B-side of her first single was this superb slow groove with the might and knowhow of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section in support. The song was recorded at FAME studios in the Shoals eponymous Alabama hometown.
Try a Little Tenderness: Otis Redding
With Stax obtained they now had Booker T and the MGs providing backing and Isaac Hayes in arrangement. It was craftsmanship at its best but undoubtably it is the king of soul from Georgia who was the star of the recording
Love Won't Let Me Wait: William Bell
The 1975 hit by former Delfonics member William Bell. It is a playlist favourite and certainly a clear sign of the more adult sound the label was trying to create.. Seductive, raunchy, and romantically sensual.
As far as we’re concerned from the moment we sign an artist, they’re already a star
Ahmet Ertegun, Chairman and Co-founder: Atlantic Records
In the Midnight Hour: Wilson Pickett
The superb horn sounds and the strong rasping vocals made this is vessel for Picketts dominance of the sixties soul scene.
Mess Around: Ray Charles
Written by Ahmet Ertegun himself. This radio-play giant propelled the blind pianist, Charles into super-stardom. Incredibly upbeat and lyrically playful. In post Atlantic years Charles' music would eventually become synthetic and more self-aware.
Tribute to a King: William Bell
A heartfelt song of worship to the late great Otis Redding. The star who died in a plane crash on his way to Wisconsin in 1967 aged only 26. Bell sings an emotional storytelling tribute to his hero. Never obsequious and always worthy. The song demonstrates perfectly just how loved 'The O' was and how missed he will always be.
Clean Up Woman: Betty Wright
A humorous, self-deprecating parable from sassy Miami teenage sensation Betty Wright. A stage princess with physical and vocal presence way beyond her young years.
Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay: Otis Redding
No Atlantic list is complete without this classic song of reflection, sadness, and ultimately, hope. Widely used and covered over the years, it is possibly the most well-known of Redding’s songs, who here makes his second appearance on our list. Sadly, this posthumous chart-topper was his only no.1.
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman: Aretha Franklin
Another entry for Aretha. the opening two lines are a tribute to her brilliance and the technical adaptability of Jerry Wexler, the producer with whom she worked so proficiently. The lyrics do not sit easily in music but they pull it off to a gold standard.
I've Got a Woman: Ray Charles
The controversial fusion of RnB and Gospel did not go over easy for many of Charles' Christian listeners. Many stations banned it but it became his first Atlantic chart-topper and part of his signature sound.