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Sam Cooke

(1931 – 1964)

Samuel Cooke (born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi; died December 11, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) was a popular and influential American gospel, R&B, soul and pop singer-songwriter recognized as one of the true founders of soul music. Often referred to as The King of Soul, Cooke had 29 Top 40 hits in the U.S. between 1957 and 1964 including major hits You Send Me, A Change Is Gonna Come, Chain Gang and Wonderful World. Cooke was also among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career, he founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. He also took an active part in the American Civil Rights Movement.

On December 11, 1964, Cooke was allegedly shot to death by the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California at the age of 33. At the time, the courts ruled that Cooke was drunk and distressed, and the manager killed Cooke in what was later ruled a justifiable homicide. Since that time, the circumstances of his death have been widely questioned.

Sam Cooke (he added an “e” onto the end of his name because he thought it added a touch of class) was one of eight children of Rev. Charles and Mrs. Annie Mae Cook. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1933.


Samuel "Sam" Cooke (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964) was an American recording artist and singer-songwriter, generally considered among the greatest of all time. Influential as both a singer and composer, he is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music. His pioneering contributions to soul music contributed to the rise of Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Billy Preston and popularized the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown. AllMusic biographer Bruce Eder wrote that Cooke was "the inventor of soul music", and possessed "an incredible natural singing voice and a smooth, effortless delivery that has never been surpassed."

Cooke had 30 U.S. top 40 hits between 1957 and 1964, plus three more posthumously. Major hits like "You Send Me", "A Change Is Gonna Come", "Cupid", "Chain Gang", "Wonderful World", and "Twistin' the Night Away" are some of his most popular songs. Cooke was also among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career. He founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. He also took an active part in the Civil Rights Movement.

On December 11, 1964, at the age of 33, Cooke was fatally shot by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California. After an inquest, the courts ruled Cooke's death to be a justifiable homicide. Since that time, the circumstances of his death have been consistently called into question by Cooke's family and his wide circle of friends and acquaintances.

Sam caught his big break when he signed with record label Keen. His first huge hit for Keen was a song that he and his brother L.C. Cooke wrote called, "You Send Me". In 1957, the hit single sold 1.7 million copies.
Sam is the cousin of the actor Stan Shaw.
Sam was one of 8 siblings. He had 4 brothers and 3 sisters.
Sam's body is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, USA.
In 1986, Sam was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Sam was 5'10" tall
Sam was the son of a minister. His father was the Rev. Charles Cooke and his mother was named Annie Mae Cooke.
Actually Sam had seven children: Sharon, Paula, Tracey, Denise, Linda, Keith and Vincent.
Sam's son Vincent drowned in 1963.
Sam Cooke's widow married Bobby Womack and his daughter Linda married Bobby's brother Cecil they duet as 'Womack and Womack' and have had chart hits.


50s, 60s Hits

Another Saturday Nite
Chain Gang
Having A Party
Only Sixteen
Twistin' The Night Away
Wonderul World
You Send Me

Rock

(What A) Wonderful World
Another Saturday Night
Sad Mood
Try A Little Love
Wonderful World

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