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Before Adele: A Short History of British Soul Divas

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Springfield was a pop chanteuse with a blond beehive until she recorded 1969’s erotically charged Dusty in Memphis, backed up by crack Southern musicians; it set the mold for almost every U.K. soul woman to follow.

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By Douglas Wolk

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Alison Moyet

First known as the singer on Yazoo’s early-1980s hits like “Don’t Go,” Moyet became a fixture on the U.K. charts, thanks to her huge deep-blues contralto and brokenhearted love songs.

Lauren Dukoff

Adele

In a year of sex bombs and art projects on the pop charts, the biggest surprise hit of 2011 is 21, a breakup LP that could have been recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama – the work of an earthy, full-figured 22-year-old whose go-to outfits are billowy turtleneck sweaters.

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Adele Opens Up About Her Inspirations, Looks and Stage Fright in Rolling Stone Cover Story

Choice Excerpts From Adele's Cover Story: The Singer on Everything From Her Stage Fright to How Her Childhood Resembled Fame

Video: Adele Discusses Inspirations for 21

Video: Adele Calls Songs on 21 "The Most Articulate I've Ever Written"