A Brief History of White Boy Soul

A Brief History of White Boy Soul
Micah Baird

Mayer Hawthorne is a terrible, terrible rapper. Should you decide to hear "Haircut" drop a quick 16, be forewarned. But the man has pipes. The sharp-suited crooner showed a deep, well vetted knowledge of African-American music--most principally Stax and Motown soul--on last year's How Do You Do (Universal Republic), walking a tight rope with sincerity and consistent pastiche.

Hawthorne pulls it off, and in celebration of this feat, we've outlined an abridged history of white boy funk and soul.

Mayer Hawthorne is scheduled to perform Friday, July 6, at Comerica Theatre.

1973: Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)

You can keep the Average White Band. In 1973, Elton John rode the soul train to hits like "Bennie and the Jets," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting."

At a time when the rest of pop music was lost in a gauzy American Bandstand hell, Elton was the anti-Abba, embracing black rhythms as freely as he broke out in a fucked up falsetto. That third verse on "Bennie and the Jets?" Good Christ.

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