Sam & Dave were a highly acclaimed and influential soul/R&B duo consisting of tenor Sam Moore and baritone/tenor Dave Prater (May 9, 1937 - April 9, 1988) who became famous during the mid 1960s with such era-defining classics as "Hold On! I'm A Comin'" and "Soul Man." Their signature sound came from Moore's and Prater's complementary dual lead vocals in which they sometimes alternated verses and their unique synthesis of soul and R&B with pop and gospel music elements. Considered by many to be the greatest soul duo of all time, Sam & Dave were also equally renowned as a top live act.
Prior to forming Sam & Dave, Sam Moore and Dave Prater had both grown up singing gospel and were members of various vocal groups. Moore sang with such gospel ensembles as The Gales and The Mellionaires and was also a member of a doo-wop group known as The Majestics. Prater was a member of The Sensational Hummingbirds who recorded "Lord Teach Me" during the 1950s. Moore and Prater met in 1961 in Miami and soon after began performing together as a duo, amassing a huge following. They signed with Marlin Records in 1962 and released several singles on a number of different labels before eventually moving to Stax in 1965 where they recorded the songs for which they are best known.
Sam & Dave made their national debut in 1964 on the Pop/Rock charts with "I Got A Thing Going On" which was a minor hit. Their fame took off in 1966 with the Isaac Hayes/David Porter-penned "Hold On! I'm Comin'" which topped the R&B charts and made the Pop/Rock Top 40. Sam & Dave later topped both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts in 1967 with what would become their signature song, "Soul Man." This Hayes/Porter-penned oldies classic, which gave a name to the then-emerging genre known as soul music, was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and has also won numerous other awards and honors over the years. Other Sam & Dave hits co-written by Hayes and Porter included "Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody" (1966), "You Got Me Hummin'" (1966), "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" (1967), "Everybody Got To Believe In Somebody" (1968), "Soul Sister, Brown Sugar" (1968), and "I Thank You" (1968), the latter of which became a Top 10 hit on both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts. Sam & Dave's long string of hits, which continued through the early 1970s, also included "Can't You Find Another Way Of Doing It" (1968), "You Don't Know What You Mean To Me" (1968), the Sam Cooke-penned "Soothe Me" (1967), and their cover of the Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds smash hit, "Don't Pull Your Love" (1971). They had one final hit in 1985 on the R&B charts with "The Sam & Dave Medley."
Sam & Dave were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. They are also members of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. Their numerous other honors and accolades also include multiple gold records and a Grammy Award in 1967 for "Soul Man" (Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental).
Dave Prater was killed on April 9, 1988 at age 50 in an auto accident. Sam Moore has continued to perform actively over the years as a solo artist. Moore appeared in "Blues Brothers 2000" (1998) and "Only The Strong Survive" (2002) and released his first solo album in 2006, "Overnight Sensational."
- For more information about Sam & Dave and Sam Moore's latest projects, visit sammoore.net.
- Sam Moore looks back on his days with Sam & Dave in an interview with Gary James of classicbands.com (ca. 2014).
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Sam And Dave
- Hold On! I'm A Comin' 1966
(This song later also became a hit for Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown (1967).)
- I Thank You 1968
(This song later also became a hit for ZZ Top (1980).)
- Soul Man 1967
(This song also became a hit for the Ramsey Lewis Trio (1967, instrumental version) and the Blues Brothers (1979, sung version).)
- When Something Is Wrong With My Baby 1967
(This song later also became a hit for Linda Ronstadt/Aaron Neville (1990).)
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