The first soul songs were created when gospel songs were changed into secular songs by rewriting the lyrics. Joyful, up-tempo gospel songs became up-tempo soul songs, while slower gospel songs became romantic love songs. An example of the up-tempo style is R&B artist Ray Charles' 1954 song I've Got a Woman (Way Across Town), a secularversion of the old gospel song I've Got a Savior (Way Across Jordan). Another example is Ray's first crossover hit What'd I Say in which he uses a gospel-music call and response to exchange sexy "oohs" and "aahs" with the Raelettes, his female backing singers. An example of the slower style is former gospelsinger James Brown's 1956 song Please, Please, Please in which he changed a gospel song about yearning for God's love into a song about yearning for a girl's love.
Another gospelsinger who changed gospel songs into secular songs was Sam Cooke. Sam had joined the gospel group Soul Stirrers as a teenager, but he was forced to leave the group in 1956 after recording the song Lovable, a secularversion of the group's gospel song Wonderful. His beautiful yet powerful voice can be heard on his first 1957 crossover hit You Send Me. The song was so popular that it replaced Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock at the top of the pop-music charts. It was the first of nearly thirty crossover hits he recorded before writing his last and greatest song A Change is Gonna Come in 1964. The song expressed his yearning for an end to racism, but before it was released Sam was murdered in Los Angeles. Even though his life was cut short, his success opened the way for many other African American soul singers.
Soul music is a genre of African American popular music that led to many later genres, from funk and dance music to hip hop and contemporary R&B. It developed in the USA in the late 1950s from African American church music called "gospel music". After slavery ended in 1865, African Americans weren't welcome in the churches of white Americans, so they built their own churches and sang Christian songs with African-American vocal styles and rhythms. They sang joyful, up-tempo gospel songs while clapping and moving to the beat, and they sang slower gospel songs that expressed deep feelings like yearning for God's love. These different styles led to the two main styles of soul music.