Soul Man – Sam & Dave | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#2) and R&B (#1 for 7 weeks); 1967

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

in Cash Box If 1967’s Summer of Love brought an emerging cultural identity for America’s white middle class, then that fall offered a touchstone for African American males in the form of Soul Man.

Co-writer Issac Hayes told partner David Porter of a new term he’d heard – “Soul” – and suggested building a song around it. Hayes and Porter married their work to a sparkling rhythm track of cymbals, guitars, and horns, and overlaid it with the urgent vocalizing of Sam Moore and David Prater.

Soul Man was monster pop and R&B hit, topping that chart for seven weeks. From then on, the word “Soul” took on a new meaning, and played a key role in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Isaac Hayes
  • David Porter

Lyrics Written by:

  • Isaac Hayes
  • David Porter


  • Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental in 1968
  • Inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame
  • Rolling Stone ranked Sam & Dave No. 14 on its list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time
  • In 2019, “Soul Man” was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry as “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress
  • The song was also included in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” at No. 463