Sam Cooke (January 22, 1931 - December 11, 1964) was a celebrated and influential R&B/soul singer and songwriter with a great deal of crossover appeal who became famous beginning in the late 1950s. After bursting onto the music scene in 1957 with the luminous "You Send Me," which topped both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts, a long string of hits followed that includes such beloved oldies classics as "Only Sixteen" (1959), "Chain Gang" (1960), "Cupid" (1961), "Twistin' The Night Away" (1962), "Another Saturday Night" (1963), and "Shake" (1965).
Born Samuel Cook in Clarksdale, Mississippi, he began at age six with his siblings in a group known as the Singing Children. While in his early teens, he was a member of the long-running gospel group, the Highway Q.C.'s, serving for a time as lead singer. During the 1950s, he became the lead singer of The Soul Stirrers before going solo in 1957. Over his eight-year career, while performing and recording actively, he founded both a record label and a publishing company and also took part in the Civil Rights Movement. Sam Cooke's life and career were tragically cut short in 1964 at age 33 when he was shot to death by the manager of a motel in Los Angeles. The exact circumstances leading to his shooting have yet to be fully explained.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential soul artists of all time, Cooke was inducted posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the prestigious inaugural Class of 1986. His numerous other honors and accolades include being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and a second time into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 along with The Soul Stirrers.
- American Songwriter, The History Channel, and People Magazine explore the mysterious circumstances surrounding Sam Cooke's death.
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- Another Saturday Night 1963
(This song also became a hit for Cat Stevens (1974).)
- Bring It On Home To Me 1962
(This song later also became a hit for the Animals (1965), Eddie Floyd (1968), and Lou Rawls (1970).)
- Chain Gang 1960
(This song later also became a hit for Jackie Wilson & Count Basie (1968) and Jim Croce (1976, as a medley).)
- Cupid 1961
(This oldies classic later also became a hit for Johnny Rivers (1965), Johnny Nash (1970), Dawn (1976), and the Spinners (1980, as a medley).)
- Frankie And Johnny 1963
(This song, which is based on the early 20th century folk tune ("Frankie and Johnny were lovers ..."), was previously a hit for Johnny Cash (1959) and Brook Benton (1961) and later also became a hit for the Greenwood Country Singers (1964) and Elvis Presley (1966).)
- Having A Party 1962
(This song later also became a hit for the Ovations (1973, as a medley), Luther Vandross (1982, as a medley), and Rod Stewart & Ronnie Wood (1994).)
- Little Red Rooster 1963
- Nothing Can Change This Love 1962
- Sad Mood 1960
- Send Me Some Lovin' 1963
(This song was previously a hit for Little Richard (1957).)
- Sugar Dumpling 1965
- That's It - I Quit - I'm Movin' On 1961
- Twistin' The Night Away 1962
(This song later also became a hit for Rod Stewart (1973, 1987).)
- Wonderful World 1960
(This song later also became a hit for the Herman's Hermits (1965) and Art Garfunkel with James Taylor & Paul Simon (1978).)
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