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Artist: Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

Bio

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. Cooke began his musical career as a member of a quartet with his siblings, the Singing Children, followed by a turn as a teenager as a member of the Highway QCs, a gospel group. In 1950, at the age of 19, he joined The Soul Stirrers and achieved significant success and fame within the gospel community. His first pop single, "Lovable" (1956) was released under the alias of "Dale Cooke," in order to not alienate his fan base; there was a considerable taboo against gospel singers performing secular music. However, the alias failed to hide Cooke's unique and distinctive vocals. No one was fooled. Art Rupe, head of Specialty Records, the label of the Soul Stirrers, gave his blessing for Cooke to record secular music under his real name, but was unhappy about the type of music Cooke and Bumps Blackwell, Cooke's pop producer, were making. Rupe expected Cooke's secular music to be similar to that of another Specialty Records artist, Little Richard. When Rupe walked in on a recording session and he
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Top Albums

The Man and His Music cover art

The Man and His Music

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The Man Who Invented Soul cover art

The Man Who Invented Soul

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Portrait of a Legend cover art

Portrait of a Legend

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Top Songs

A Change Is Gonna Come cover art

A Change Is Gonna Come

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Wonderful World cover art

Wonderful World

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Bring It on Home to Me cover art

Bring It on Home to Me

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You Send Me cover art

You Send Me

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Cupid cover art

Cupid

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(What A) Wonderful World cover art

(What A) Wonderful World

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Chain Gang cover art

Chain Gang

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