The legendary Sam Cooke, who was shot dead in 1964, would have been eighty today.
Pretty much the pioneer of soul music, trying to list who he influenced would take up several blogs, but is pretty far reaching. The entirety of soul, but also into the R&B that the Beatles and the Stones loved, copied and then sold back to America, Hip-Hop…even Rod Stewart revealed that he spent his teens trying to copy Cooke’s vocal stylings*. Though chart positions indicate he was more popular in the US than in the UK, he made an impact that lives on. Rolling Stone magazine considered him to be judged him the fourth greatest singer of all time in 2008, and no.16 on their 100 greatest artists of all time.
He was shot dead in December 1964; at the time it was ruled as ‘justifiable homicide’ though conspiracy theories have run ever since. Etta James said in her autobiography -having seen the body in the funeral home – that he had been so badly beaten that his head was nearly separated from his shoulders, his hands were broken and crushed, and his nose mangled.
I’m not an authority on his life or his work, but these are two songs everyone ought to here. I’m not posting mp3s -go and buy the records/CDs/mp3s!
Sam Cooke ‘A Change Is Gonna Come.’
(if you don’t have a tear in your eye after that, I worry for your soul)
*17 Seconds would like to make very clear that it is in no way holding Sam Cooke responsible for ‘Do ya Think I’m Sexy’ or ‘Sailin’ which were visited on the record buying public.