Brand New Selection Of Extended 12" Mixes Of Soul, Funk & Disco Classics. Soul music (often referred to simply as soul) is a popular music genre that originated in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential in the civil rights era. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.