It is taking longer than expected to fetch the next song to play. The music should be playing soon. If you get tired of waiting, you can try reloading your browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.

Please ensure you are using the latest Flash Player.


If you are unable or do not wish to upgrade your Flash Player,
please try a different browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.
Your Pandora One subscription will expire shortly.
close
Your Pandora One trial subscription will expire shortly. Upgrade to continue unlimited, ad-free listening.
You've listened to hours of Pandora this month. Consider upgrading to Pandora One.
Close
Hi . Pandora is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn MoreNo Thanks
-0:00
0:00
Change Skin

We created Pandora to put the Music Genome Project directly in your hands

It’s a new kind of radio –
stations that play only music you like

 
Create an account for free. Register
Now Playing
Music Feed
My Profile
Create a Station
People who also like this

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was the most important soul singer in history -- he was also the inventor of soul music, and its most popular and beloved performer in both the black and white communities. Equally important, he was among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of the music business, and founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. Yet, those business interests didn't prevent him from being engaged in topical issues, including the struggle over civil rights, the pitch and intensity of which followed an arc that paralleled Cooke's emergence as a star -- his own career bridged gaps between black and white audiences that few had tried to surmount, much less succeeded at doing, and also between generations; where Chuck Berry or Little Richard brought black and white teenagers together, James Brown sold records to white teenagers and black listeners of all ages, and Muddy Waters got young white folkies and older black transplants from the South onto the same page, Cooke appealed to all of the above, and the parents of those white teenagers as well -- yet he never lost his credibility with his core black audience. In a sense, his appeal anticipated that of the Beatles, in breadth and depth.

He was born Sam Cook in Clarksdale, MS, on January 22, 1931, one of eight children of a Baptist minister and his wife. Even as a young boy, he showed an extraordinary voice and frequently sang in the choir in his father's church. During the middle of the decade, the Cook family moved to Chicago's South Side, where the Reverend Charles Cook quickly established himself as a major figure in the religious community. Sam and three of his siblings also formed a group of their own, the Singing Children, in the 1930s. Although his own singing was confined to gospel music, he was aware and appreciative of the popular music of the period, particularly the melodious, harmony-based sounds of the Ink Spots, whose influence could later be heard in songs such as "You Send Me" and "For Sentimental Reasons." As a teenager, he was a member of the Teen Highway QCs, a gospel group that performed in churches and at religious gatherings. His membership in that group led to his introduction to the Soul Stirrers, one of the top gospel groups in the country, and in 1950 he joined them.

If Cooke had never recorded a note of music on his own, he would still be remembered today in gospel circles for his work with the Soul Stirrers. Over the next six years, his role within the group and his prominence within the black community rose to the point where he was already a star, with his own fiercely admiring and devoted audience, through his performances on songs like "Touch the Hem of His Garment," "Nearer to Thee," and "That's Heaven to Me." The group was one of the top acts on Art Rupe's Specialty Records label, and he might have gone on for years as their most popular singer, but Cooke's goal was to reach audiences beyond the religious community, and beyond the black population, with his voice. This was a tall order at the time, as the mere act of recording a popular song could alienate the gospel listenership in an instant; singing for God was regarded in those circles as a gift and a responsibility, and popular music, rock & roll, and R&B were to be abhorred, at least coming from the mouth of a gospel singer; the gap was so great that when a blues singer such as Blind Gary Davis became "sanctified" (that is, found religion) as the Rev. Gary Davis, he could still sing and play his old blues melodies, but had to devise new words, and he never sang the blues words again.

He tested the waters of popular music in 1956 with the single "Lovable," produced by Bumps Blackwell and credited under the name Dale Cooke so as not to attract too much attention from his existing audience. It was enough, however, to get Cooke dropped by the Soul Stirrers and their record label, but that freed him to record under his real name. The result was one of the biggest selling singles of the 1950s, a Cooke original entitled "You Send Me," which sold over two million copies on the tiny Keen Records label and hit number one on both the pop and R&B charts. Although it seems like a tame record today, "You Send Me" was a pioneering soul record in its time, melding elements of R&B, gospel, and pop into a sound that was new and still coalescing at the time.

Cooke was with Keen for the next two years, a period in which he delivered up some of the prettiest romantic ballads and teen pop singles of the era, including "For Sentimental Reasons," "Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha," "Only Sixteen," and "(What A) Wonderful World." These were extraordinarily beautiful records, and in between the singles came some early album efforts, most notably Tribute to the Lady, his album of songs associated with Billie Holiday. He was unhappy, however, with both the business arrangement that he had with Keen and the limitations inherent with recording for a small label -- equally to the point, major labels were knocking on Cooke's door, including Atlantic and RCA Records; Atlantic, which was not yet the international conglomerate that it later became, was the top R&B-oriented label in the country and Cooke almost certainly would have signed there and found a happy home with the company, except that they wanted his publishing, and Cooke had seen the sales figures on his songs, as well as their popularity in cover versions by other artists, and was well aware of the importance of owning his copyrights.

Thus, he signed with RCA Records, then one of the three biggest labels in the world (the others being Columbia and Decca), even as he organized his own publishing company, Kags Music, and a record label, SAR, through which he would produce other artists' records -- among those signed to SAR were the Soul Stirrers, Bobby Womack (late of the Valentinos, who were also signed to the label), former Soul Stirrers member Johnny Taylor, Billy Preston, Johnnie Morisette, and the Simms Twins.

Cooke's RCA sides were a strangely schizophrenic body of work, at least for the first two years. He broke new ground in pop and soul with the single "Chain Gang," a strange mix of sweet melodies and gritty, sweaty sensibilities that also introduced something of a social conscience to his work -- a number two hit on both the pop and R&B charts, it was his biggest hit since "You Send Me" and heralded a bolder phase in his career. Singles like bluesy, romantic "Sad Mood," the idyllic romantic soul of "Cupid," and the straight-ahead dance tune "Twistin' the Night Away" (a pop Top Ten and a number one R&B hit), and "Bring It on Home to Me" all lived up to this promise, and also sold in huge numbers. But the first two albums that RCA had him do, Hits of the Fifties and Cooke's Tour, were among the lamest LPs ever recorded by any soul or R&B singer, comprised of washed-out pop tunes in arrangements that showed almost none of Cooke's gifts to their advantage.

In 1962, Cooke issued Twistin' the Night Away, a somewhat belated "twist" album that became one of his biggest-selling LPs. He didn't really hit his stride as an LP artist, however, until 1963 with the release of Night Beat, a beautifully self-contained, dark, moody assembly of blues-oriented songs that were among the best and most challenging numbers that Cooke had recorded up to that time. By the time of its release, he was mostly identified through his singles, which were among the best work of their era, and had developed two separate audiences, among white teen and post-teen listeners and black audiences of all ages. It was Cooke's hope to cross over to the white audience more thoroughly, and open up doors for black performers that, up to that time, had mostly been closed -- he had tried playing the Copa in New York as early as 1957 and failed at the time, mostly owing to his inexperience, but in 1964 he returned to the club in triumph, an event that also yielded one of the most finely recorded live performances of its period. The problem with the Copa performance was that it didn't really represent what Sam Cooke was about in full -- it was Cooke at his most genial and non-confrontational, doing his safest repertory for a largely middle-aged, middle-class white audience; they responded enthusiastically, to be sure, but only to Cooke's tamest persona.

In mid-1963, however, Cooke had done a show at the Harlem Square Club in Miami that had been recorded. Working in front of a black audience and doing his "real" show, he delivered a sweaty, spellbinding performance built on the same elements found in his singles and his best album tracks, combining achingly beautiful melodies and gritty soul sensibilities. The two live albums sum up the split in Cooke's career and the sheer range of his talent, the rewards of which he'd finally begun to realize more fully in 1963 and 1964.

The drowning death of his infant son in mid-1963 had made it impossible for Cooke to work in the studio until the end of that year. During that time, however, with Allen Klein now managing his business affairs, Cooke did achieve the financial and creative independence that he'd wanted, including more money than any black performer had ever been advanced before, and the eventual ownership of his recordings beginning in November of 1963 -- he had achieved creative control of his recordings as well, and seemed poised for a breakthrough. It came when he resumed making records, amid the musical ferment of the early '60s. Cooke was keenly aware of the music around him, and was particularly entranced by Bob Dylan's song "Blowin' in the Wind," its treatment of the plight of black Americans and other politically oppressed minorities, and its success in the hands of Peter, Paul & Mary -- all of these factors convinced him that the time was right for songs that dealt with more than twisting the night away.

The result was "A Change Is Gonna Come," perhaps the greatest song to come out of the civil rights struggle, and one that seemed to close and seal the gap between the two directions of Cooke's career, from gospel to pop. Arguably his greatest and his most important song, it was an artistic apotheosis for Cooke. During this same period, he had also devised a newer, more advanced dance-oriented soul sound in the form of the song "Shake." These two recordings heralded a new era for Cooke and a new phase of his career, with seemingly the whole world open to him.

None of it was to be. Early in the day on December 11, 1964, while in Los Angeles, Cooke became involved in an altercation at a seedy motel, with a woman guest and the night manager, and was shot to death while allegedly trying to attack the manager. The case is still shrouded in doubt and mystery, and was never investigated the way the murder of a star of his stature would be today. Cooke's death shocked the black community and reverberated far beyond -- his single "Shake" was a posthumous Top Ten hit, as were "A Change Is Gonna Come" and the At the Copa album, released in 1965. Otis Redding, Al Green, and Solomon Burke, among others, picked up key parts of Cooke's repertory, as did white performers, including the Animals and the Rolling Stones. Even the Supremes recorded a memorial album of his songs, which is now one of the most sought-after of their original recordings, in either LP or CD form.

His reputation survived, at least among those who were smart enough to look behind the songs -- to hear Redding's performance of "Shake" at the Monterey Pop Festival, for example, and see where it came from. Cooke's own records were a little tougher to appreciate, however. Listeners who heard those first two, rather poor RCA albums, Hits of the Fifties and Cooke's Tour, could only wonder what the big deal was about, and several of the albums that followed were uneven enough to give potential fans pause. Meanwhile, the contractual situation surrounding Cooke's recordings greatly complicated the reissue of his work -- Cooke's business manager, Allen Klein, exerted a good deal of control, especially over the songs cut during that last year of the singer's life. By the 1970s, there were some fairly poor, mostly budget-priced compilations available, consisting of the hits up through early 1963, and for a time there was even a television compilation out there, but that was it. The movie National Lampoon's Animal House made use of a pair of Cooke songs, "(What A) Wonderful World" and "Twistin' the Night Away," which greatly raised his profile among college students and younger baby-boomers, and Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes made almost a mini-career out of reviving Cooke's songs (most notably "Having a Party," and even part of "A Change Is Gonna Come") in concert. In 1986, The Man and His Music went some way to correcting the absence of all but the early hits in a career-spanning compilation, but since the mid-'90s, Cooke's final year's worth of releases have been separated from the earlier RCA and Keen material, and is in the hands of Klein's ABKCO label. Finally, in the late '90s and beyond, RCA, ABKCO, and even Specialty (which still owns Cooke's gospel sides with the Soul Stirrers) each issued comprehensive collections of their portions of Cooke's catalog. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Complete Specialty Recordings Of Sam Cooke

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
x

Track List: The Man Who Invented Soul

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4

Comments

A time comming
Brings back memories
I just love this song by him. When a person loves you this much, don't take them for granted...
K
erobinson196 5
Does the lyrics show anymore? I don't it anymore
ONE OF THE BEST OF THE OLDIES @ GOODIES
just crying....
One of THE most inspirationa l singers in my life. Lord, praise Sam Cooke.✌ Another Saturday Night
Great Song! "Sam Cooke"Is One Of The Bedt!
This song reminds me of my god sisters that past
My Love has been true
Sam has a great voice
amazing voice
i really enjoy PANDORA!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! CMC
He had the ultimate softest, smoothest voice.
We be Twist'n the night away
Soothing music...
Why isn't the lyrics showing on any song selection
hambone5287
The first line in this bio says it all. Sam Cooke was most important soul singer in history. That's is saying a mouth full when you think of all the greats of his time.
Good man. Gone
mmarkodavid
Sam,you the man
You tube. Music
Good music!
if everyone listened to same cooke the world would be a calmer happier place and racist incidents would disappear and i say this as a white per son - lets make same proud
love you sam
i love sam cooke
This era of music held LOVE, soul, warmth, goals, RESPECT, admiration, and great sound!! Today's music need to find all of the above.
The the king of soul
Real grown folks music
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
Love will find you again i agree i don't treat you right and sorry....... y o u amazing person you have creative heart that shouldn't be broken i don't tell you through music how i feel ,you know........ . b u t you have too rest ,stop worrying , I'm not going anywhere unless you tell me to Get the hell on.
We will not be able to live in peace with the new rap and hip hop music people are polluting others minds with. All this talk about "n**gas" and "hoes", its just for people who can't see the light. The light of soul. The light of living. Please, bring this stuff back.✌
Those were the good old days
Sam Cooke was one the best singer in the day even his music lives on with the music world and those who love good music and his love song,touch your soul and your heart.thank you.
Love Sam Cooke gone too soon.rip
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
But I love it
That song was a bit....short /:-|
Love Sam. RIP
Sam Cooke the voice of an angle love the gospel and soul music to this day
Nothing like the oldies :-)
Old schools music
Good for you Bish I love your style and I'm 10
Music ain't got no soul like back in the days.
STILL HAS REAL MEANING MAKE ME FEEL GOOD ABOUT LIFE TO LIVE DAY BY DAY. WOULD ALSO LIKE TO HEAR HIS SONG WHEN THE GATES SWING WIDE OPEN.

PHATZ305
this is my mother's favorite song and he passed away on her birthday 12/11/63
sam you are with me today
Thanks for your thoughts of this. It takes me so far back to remember my youth. From a true Washington!! !
Amen to that, louhutson! What about doo wap? (only if youre a New Yorker or Jersey Boy, huh? bostongal
Anybody remember basement house parties. This song always make me think of those days, down in the basement partying away.
Yeah, I know, I'm old. But I can boast being young when the best music of all times was created. People who could sing and didn't need help from technology to make them sound good.

That's why the music has stood the test of time.
Show more

We're sorry, but a browser plugin or firewall may be preventing Pandora from loading.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser.

Please check our Help page for more information.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser
or install a newer version of Flash (v.10 or later).

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please install Adobe Flash (v.10 or later).

[81, 111, 96, 86, 103, 124, 73, 124, 76, 105, 121, 67, 83, 78, 72, 102, 71, 66, 101, 77, 125, 79, 88, 127, 109, 114, 64, 84, 109, 107, 115, 74, 102, 89, 77, 101, 93, 80, 79, 66, 112, 72, 90, 119, 112, 79, 71, 82, 91, 65, 126, 69, 100, 123, 98, 101, 118, 121, 111, 117, 121, 119, 104, 94, 72, 67, 71, 112, 125, 88, 67, 81, 87, 64, 85, 96, 108, 100, 96, 105, 118, 120, 80, 69, 121, 104, 126, 89, 90, 99, 120, 93, 72, 87, 67, 70, 92, 109, 114, 69, 112, 70, 124, 77, 69, 122, 65, 65, 101, 102, 90, 68, 125, 109, 66, 81, 109, 121, 94, 78, 100, 111, 72, 81, 81, 72, 95, 64, 82, 126, 67, 117, 112, 91, 87, 90, 101, 76, 67, 69, 120, 107, 100, 64, 74, 115, 81, 99, 117, 121, 88, 89, 68, 87, 88, 97, 109, 88, 88, 66, 126, 83, 93, 123, 100, 88, 74, 117, 77, 91, 118, 98, 101, 78, 84, 123, 83, 70, 64, 117, 114, 71, 92, 101, 123, 71, 99, 82, 81, 118, 88, 71, 108, 114, 125, 107, 65, 107, 104, 90, 115, 109, 86, 67, 80, 72, 110, 116, 94, 92, 114, 100, 102, 88, 105, 83, 120, 81, 102, 103, 125, 88, 71, 127, 92, 67, 100, 85, 122, 76, 102, 97, 104, 73, 64, 119, 64, 123, 100, 86, 106, 74, 69, 80, 76, 109, 84, 84, 89, 119, 81, 109, 119, 109, 126, 72, 126, 103, 77, 111, 106, 88, 81, 99, 123, 119, 117, 104, 67, 66, 99, 102, 103, 90, 82, 92, 123, 100, 75, 108, 103, 117, 127, 105, 121, 96, 88, 82, 85, 80, 100, 106, 82, 92, 75, 84, 117, 87, 121, 75, 78, 121, 83, 100, 107, 113, 119, 103, 111, 118, 115, 103, 99, 96, 99, 84, 110, 96, 71, 72, 93, 67, 68, 89, 87, 89, 109, 111, 111, 83, 108, 100, 118, 76, 103, 72, 108, 106, 127, 95, 83, 92, 65, 126, 96, 69, 126, 113, 86, 71, 73, 99, 78, 84, 118, 127, 76, 125, 120, 76, 65, 108, 71, 64, 118, 123, 96, 111, 125, 64, 86, 85, 65, 85, 97, 113, 100, 92, 125, 106, 72, 124, 95, 69, 106, 71, 65, 108, 122, 87, 108, 77, 82, 102, 78, 124, 68, 101, 93, 107, 82, 115, 96, 109, 121, 85, 103, 68, 86, 120, 114, 86, 82, 118, 99, 125, 107, 118, 110, 69, 127, 115, 105, 118, 124, 126, 104, 76, 119, 70, 99, 69, 124, 112, 82, 71, 72, 93, 76, 66, 124, 82, 109, 125, 123, 122, 99, 80, 115, 87, 97, 88, 98, 70, 121, 89, 85, 83, 105, 74, 121, 67, 114, 88, 121, 123, 119, 66, 119, 115, 107, 85, 118, 80, 104, 66, 97, 121, 91, 111, 100, 127, 108, 93, 64, 112, 100, 111, 70, 79, 73, 67, 74, 98, 74, 100, 121, 97, 113, 71, 93, 73, 81, 108, 92, 97, 96, 85, 120, 111, 110, 113]