Sam Cooke

By: Jordon Myers

History of Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was an American Singer and composer who was born on January 22, 1931 and died on December 11, 1964 at the age of 33. He was considered the King of Soul and his music is considered among the greatest of all time. His music contributed to the rise of many other legends including Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Billy Preston. He had also popularized Otis Redding and James Brown. Bruce Eder, a biographer, had said 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 including "Only Sixteen", "Wonderful World", "Chain Gang", and "Cupid". Cooke was also among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career. Cooke had also focused mainly on singles when releasing his music just like many other R&B singers. He also had written most of the music he recorded. In 1961, Cooke started his own record label, SAR Records, with J.W. Alexander and his manager, Roy Crain.

Cooke was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement in 1999 and named the fourth "Greatest Singer of All Time." He was also inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

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Event that Propelled Cooke to Fame

Cooke's first release titled "You Send Me" had been No.1 at the Billboard R&B Chart for six weeks, making him famous. The same song had been No.1 on the Billboard Pop Chart for three weeks.

Top Songs

  • "Cupid"
  • "You Send Me"
  • "Chain Gang"
  • "Only Sixteen"
  • "That's Heaven to Me"
  • "Little Red Rooster"
  • "Lost and Lookin'"

Top Albums

  • The Best of Sam Cooke- 1962
  • Night Beat- 1963
  • Ain't That Good News- 1964
  • Hits of the 50's- 1960
  • Cooke's Tour- 1960

Characteristics of R&B/Soul

  • Originated in the 1940's and went on until the 1950's until it was being considered as soul and funk
  • Term was used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans
  • Usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, and sometimes background vocalists
  • Lyrical themes often talk about the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy
  • Contributed to the development of rock and roll
  • Lyrics focused heavily on triumphs and failures in terms of sex, relationships, religion, freedom, and economics
Sam Cooke You Send Me

"You Send Me"

S- Main vocals, Guitar, Drum set, Backup Vocals,

H- Guitar, drum set, backup vocals

M- Main vocals

R- Slow, in 4

G- Intro, chorus, verse 1, verse 2, chorus, verse 3, chorus, outro


1/2 Plateau



"Sam Cooke Discography." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

"Sam Cooke." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.