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Categorizing SoundGenre and Twentieth-Century Popular Music$
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David Brackett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248717

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248717.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 30 June 2022

The Dictionary of Soul

The Dictionary of Soul

(p.235) 7 The Dictionary of Soul
Categorizing Sound

David Brackett

University of California Press

One of the most striking occurrences in the history of Billboard’s popularity charts was the disappearance of the R&B chart from November 1963 to January 1965. This chapter analyzes this event in depth in order to examine the relationship of R&B to the mainstream. R&B continued to have an active existence (illustrated by a discussion of radio formats) despite the disappearance of Billboard’s chart; the temporary cessation of the chart was due to conflictual understandings of genre based in part on different weightings of musical style versus the importance of audience. The “British Invasion” and the emergence of folk-rock during 1964-65 created greater racial division of the mainstream than had existed since the arrival of early rock ‘n’ roll. In the period immediately following, greater emphasis on black identity, musically and politically during the late 1960s led to the re-naming of the R&B category to Soul in 1969.

Keywords:   R&B, Billboard, popularity charts, mainstream, soul, British Invasion, folk rock, radio formats

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