Special Focus Styles 2014-15

The special focus styles for 2014-15 are:

• James Brown
• Dusty Springfield
• Motown
o Diana Ross & The Supremes
o Jackson 5/ early Michael Jackson
o Marvin Gaye
o Stevie Wonder
• Atlantic
o Otis Redding
o Aretha Franklin
Indie Rock
• Arctic Monkeys
• The Housemartins
• The Smiths
• The Stone Roses
• Happy Mondays
• Pulp
• Elastica
• Blur

Examples of longer form exam questions

1. Describe the contribution of one of the following artists to soul music, referring to albums/tracks of significance. (4)

a) James Brown

b) Otis Redding

2. Describe the development of indie music through the 1990s, referring to significant artists and songs. (6)


Soul is a genre characterised by use of brass stabs, and smooth string sections, smooth or raspy vocals, the groove. Listen to some of the examples below to get you started.

Al Green – Let’s stay together. A classic soul track featuring the legendary vocalist.

James Brown – Soul Power. The aptly named ‘Godfather of Soul’ had a huge influence on the genre, although verging more towards funk later on.

California Soul – Marlena Shaw. A classic soul track featuring smooth strings, brass stabs and that all important groove.

Otis Redding – Try a little tenderness. Pure soul from another amazing singer.


Indie rock is often a hotly contested term, that generally refers to any band or artist releasing non-mainstream music on an independent label. Here is a selection of mid 90s indie rock to get you started.

Suede – Trash. That classic 90s indie sound from a great British band.

The Breeders – Cannonball. One of many indie bands with mainly female members, a trend that has sadly died out a bit recently.

Elastica – Waking Up. Low vocals, catchy guitar riff.

Ash – Kung Fu. Ireland’s finest with one of their biggest early hits.

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