33 short years, that was the lifespan of one of the most influential and greatest R&B vocalists of all-time. Sam Cooke was the son of a minister and not surprisingly began as a gospel singer. At the age of 9, Sam was singing gospel with his siblings and as a teen joined the Soul Stirrers, making legendary songs of faith. His label recognized his unlimited potential and his solo career was kicked off with the definitive R&B slow jam of the 50’s, “You Send Me”.
When you are looking for a pure RHYTHM and BLUES singer, look no further than Sam Cooke. He opened the door to the Atlantic, Stax, Motown artists like Aretha, Otis, Marvin, and James Brown. In his short six years of recording singles, Sam notched 30 top 40 hits. Many of these songs have been covered countless times, we’re talking songs of the magnitude of “A Change Is Gonna Come”, “Wonderful World”, “Cupid”, and “Bring It On Home To Me”. He was one of the original artists inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and listed at #4 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s greatest vocalists of all-time.
Sadly, Sam was murdered outside of his hotel room at the age of 33. The story behind his murder is still a 50 year mystery. Infidelity, controversy, suspicions of a police cover-up, all lead up to a great untold story that would make an incredible motion picture. Here’s a look back at some of Sam’s finest moments.
“YOU SEND ME”
“ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT”
“A CHANGE IS GONNA COME”
“BRING IT HOME TO ME”