A unique, honest, and revealing perspective on the innovative originator of American Soul Music, Sam Cooke, and his influence on scores of musical artists. Born in Clarkesdale, Mississippi, before moving to Chicago at the age of 9, with his three brothers and three sisters, Sam, the son of a Baptist minister, who instilled in all of his children, a deep and fierce pride, along with a devotion to education, began singing professionally as a teenager in The Highway QC's, before becoming, at age 20,the youngest member of the popular gospel group, The Soul Stirrers. His exceptional good looks caused female fans to swoon and faint, even in churches across America. Cooke's eventual crossover to pop music caused a temporal backlash amongst the faithful, but the Keen Records’ release of the blockbuster smash hit "You Send Me, in 1957, catapulted his rise to fame. His warm, sugary voice, and impeccable phrasing made him RCA's 2nd most sought after singing star, eclipsed only by Elvis Presley. A popular guest on TV variety and talk shows, in the 1960s, a top selling recording artist, ("Cupid," "Another Saturday Night," "Only 16," “Wonderful World,” "Bring It On Home to Me," plus many others), and a recent success at the Copacabana Nightclub in NYC ,the pantheon of musical bookings in 1964, was arranged by Allen Klein.
Cooke also was a rising entrepreneurial music producer, discovering the likes of Billy Preston, Johnny Taylor, Mel Carter, The Sims Twins, Bobby Womack and his brothers, (The Valentinos), Johnny Morisette, and others. He was also returning to his gospel and blues roots, as evidenced in the song he wrote for dr. Martin Luther King's SCLC movement, "A Change is Gonna Come." In December of 1964, Sam was facing a crossroads of furtive management and a taciturn, duplicitous marriage, according to his close family and friends. Then, in the early morning hours of December 11th, in a seedy motel in South Los Angeles, Cooke's life ended with a bullet fired execution style under his armpit. A story fed by LAPD to the media, a rushed inquest, a grieving family determined to find answers, buoyed by a black community also seeking the truth, the Sam Cooke saga refused to die with the eternally iconic artist, son, brother, cousin, uncle, friend, and colleague. Now, perhaps, the mystery becomes less so.
About B.G. Rhule
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Published June 15, 2012
by Legend Books.
Biographies & Memoirs.