Chicago soul is a style of soul music that arose during the 1960s in Chicago. Along with Detroit, the home of Motown, and Memphis, with its hard-edged, gritty performers (see Memphis soul), Chicago and the Chicago soul style helped spur the album-oriented soul revolution of the early 1970s.
The sound of Chicago soul, like southern soul with its rich influence of black gospel music, also exhibited an unmistakable gospel sound, but was somewhat lighter and more delicate in its approach. Chicago vocal groups tended to feature laid-back sweet harmonies, while solo artists exhibited a highly melodic and somewhat pop approach to their songs. Accompaniment usually featured highly orchestrated arrangements, with horns and strings, by such notable arrangers as Johnny Pate (who largely worked with horns) and Riley Hampton (who specialized in strings). This kind of soul music is sometimes called “soft soul”, to distinguish it from the more harsh and gospelly “hard soul” style.