Founding Fathers: Arthur Conley

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Arthur Conley

Arthur Conley in the Mid-'60s (YouTube)

Known as “The Crown Prince of Soul,” [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Arthur Conley[/lastfm] was a Founding Father of R&B and a protege of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Otis Redding[/lastfm], whose sound was a little like [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Sam Cooke[/lastfm].

Born in 1946 in McIntosh County, Georgia, Arthur Conley first laid tracks to wax in 1959 as the leader of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Arthur and the Corvets[/lastfm]. In 1963 and 1964, he laid down singles for the National and Ru-Jac labels. It was a tune on the latter called “I’m a Lonely Stranger” that caught the ear of Otis Redding.

Redding released a re-recorded version of Conley singing “I’m a Lonely Stranger” on his own Jotis label and helped Conley rewrite Sam Cooke’s “Yeah Man,” turning it into Conley’s biggest hit, “Sweet Soul Music.”

After turning out of a number of singles in the ’70s, Conley moved to Europe and became active in promoting music — including a heavy metal band from the Hague — and also took interest in industrial design. He passed away from intestinal cancer in the Netherlands in 2003 at the age of 59.

It’s our Gallery of Greats! Check out more Founding Fathers.

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