Sam Cooke

Born 22 January 1931. Died 11 December 1964.
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Sam Cooke is inducted into the Singers Hall of Fame

Radio 2 listener Clare Harris nominates Sam Cooke for Michael Ball's Singers Hall Of Fame

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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 led 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.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of The Complete Remastered Keen Collection

    The Complete Remastered Keen Collection 2011

    Reviewed by David Quantick
    The real roots of soul, exposed on a three-disc set of Cooke’s early recordings.
  2. Review of Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964

    Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 2006

    Reviewed by Alwyn Turner
    Irresistible music for the long hot summer!
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