Listen: What Is Soul? / Ben E. King
Bob Gallo’s name, like Ben E. King’s, always draws me in. The two have written together for decades. As well, Bob has produced a bulk of recordings, not only for Ben E. King, but also Atlantic Records, including The Young Rascals’ ‘Groovin’. This guy has basically worked on every kind of music from James Brown & The Famous Flames’ ‘It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World’ to ? & The Mysterians’ ’96 Tears’.
‘What Is Soul’ was oddly a non hit at pop when released in ’66. Despite being the B side to ‘They Don’t Give Medals to Yesterday’s Heroes’, ‘What Is Soul’ suddenly got play in Detroit, New York and Washington DC, so Atco repressed it, changing the label copy to indicate ‘What Is Soul’ as the plug side. It’s under performance from RnB radio’s listeners, entering Billboard’s Soul chart for a mere two weeks, and peaking at #38, discouraged the label to attempt spreading the record Top 40. A very pop leaning song structure may have been the culprit to the hardcore, but I still think, what a missed opportunity every time I play it.