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Monday, August 10, 2009

Legend: Sam Cooke

b. Sam Cook, 22nd January 1931, Clarksdale, Mississippi, U.S.A.

d. 11th December 1964, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Sam Cooke died way before his time. He was one of eight children by a Baptist minister and his wife. Sam first performed publicly with his brother and two sisters in their Baptist quartet, the Soul Children. As a teenager he joined the Highway QCs, before replacing Rebert 'R.H' Harris in the Soul Stirrers. Between 1951 and 1956, Sam sang lead with this gospel group. During that 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. He recorded 'Touch The Hem Of His Garment' and 'Nearer To Thee'. The Soul Stirrers recorded for the Specialty label, where producer, 'Bumps' Blackwell, was to provide Sam with pop material. 'Loveable' / 'Forever' was issued as a single, under the pseudonym 'Dale Cook' in order to avoid offending the gospel audience.

Initially content, the label's owner, Art Rupe, then objected to the choir on a follow-up recording, 'You Send Me', and offered Sam a release from his contract in return for outstanding royalties. The song was then passed to the Keen label, where it sold in excess of two million copies. Further hits, including 'Only Sixteen' and 'Wonderful World', followed. The latter was used extensively in a television jeans commercial and in 1986 the re-issue reached number 2 in the U.K. charts.

Sam left the label for RCA Records where 'Chain Gang' (in 1960), 'Cupid' (in 1961), 'Twistin' The Night Away' (in 1962), 'Bring It On Home To Me' and 'Little Red Rooster' all followed. He also founded the Sar and Derby labels on which the Simms Twins' 'Soothe Me' and the Valentinos' 'It's All Over Now' were issued. Sam's own career continued with '(Ain't That) Good News' and 'Good Times'. The drowning death of his infant son in mid 1963 had made it impossible for Sam

to work in the studio until the end of that year.

On 11th December 1964, following an altercation with a girl he had picked up, the singer was fatally shot by the manageress of a Los Angeles motel. Sam had dinner with a famous artist on the 11th December 1964, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. He and a friend picked up a couple of models and went to a hotel. After arranging rooms, Sam became aggressive with his female friend and frightened her. When he went to the bathroom, she stole his trousers and left the hotel. Sam went into a rage, and, after being unable to find his companion, he started banging on the office door demanding to know where the woman had gone. When inside he attacked the female manager, during the struggle she was able to reach behind her and pull a gun from the desk drawer. In fear for her life, she shot him repeatedly. The female escort's name was Eliza, a euroasian model. The motel manager was not prosecuted, as it was deemed to be self defence. 'A Change Is Gonna Come', went on to become a Soul classic, and was utilised by the Sixties America's Civil Rights movement.

Sam was buried at:
Burial: Forest Lawn Memorial Park Glendale Los Angeles County California, U.S.A. Plot: Garden of Honor

There are some alleged matters which some believe bring into question Sam's final days, along with the jury trial. These comprise of:

After a brief trial, the jury deliberated for fifteen minutes and came back with a verdict of justifiable homicide. Bertha Franklin and Lisa Boyer were free. The Cooke family hired an private investigator who uncovered the following facts:

Cooke had dated Lisa Boyer three weeks prior to his murder despite the fact that numerous people warned him about her colorful past which included prostitution. If Cooke was dating her, why would he try to rape her?

Singer Etta James revealed in her book 'Rage To Survive,' that Cooke was so badly beaten that his head was nearly decapitated from his shoulders, his hands were broken and crushed, his nose was smashed and he had a two inch bump on his head. These injuries were never explained and a woman could not inflict these type of injuries.

Bertha Franklin had a .32 registered in her name, yet she killed Cooke with a .22, she would move to Michigan and die eighteen months later.

Lisa Boyer would be arrested for prostitution one month after Cookes death and in 1979 she would be found guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of her boyfriend.

Other related matters:

Singer Otis Redding would die three years later on the exact day that Sam Cooke was killed.

Cooke's widow married Bobby Womack three months after his death. They have since divorced.

Barbara sold the Sam Cooke publishing catalogue to a businessman for a mere $103,000. This catalogue currently generates $3-5 million per year.




Thanks to Zand and Mr. Moo for contributions


wouter said...

hi, you've got a terrific blog, with all the discographies of great artists. i have just downloaded two of your sam cooke albums. thanks very much for those!
on "ain't that good news" there seem to be two tracks missing, "there'll be no second time" and "the riddle song" (11 and 12). i'll see if i can find them anywhere else, and let you know...

Unknown said...

Good blog, and I'm grateful for the addendum to the story of Sam's demise, but there are mis-facts sprinkled in throughout the story.

First of all, I don't blame anyone who hasn't read my book for regurgitating variations of the same Sam-tried-to-force-himself-on-a-defenseless-woman story. It's pretty much all that's been out there these past 45 years. In "Our Uncle Sam," I point out some of the same irrational points you made, in addition to other things that were happening behind the scenes in Sam's life both personally and professionally.

The Cook family didn't hire the private investigator, the "Jewish Businessman" who was never formally investigated did.

It's also myth that Bertha Franklin died 18 months after she supposedly shot Sam. Truth is, her lawsuit against his estate lasted until the late '60's and she died 25 years later in 1989.

Otis Redding died December 10, 1967--one day before Sam's 3rd anniversary.

Etta James' description of Sam's body was consistent with what my family saw at the funeral parlor, though I didn't choose to get as graphic as she did. Whoever Sam encountered in his last days on earth, it wasn't an elderly lady with a broomstick.

Erik Greene
Author, "Our Uncle Sam: The Sam Cooke Story From His Family's Perspective"

wouter said...

here's a complete version of "ain't that good news" (1964). cooke - 1964 ain't that good news [224k].rar


Anonymous said...

Thanks Wouter. I replaced the links.

Anonymous said...

@ Sam's Neph

Thanks for your input on this Sam Cooke post that was made. I copied this article from I contacted the author of the article and I sent him the comment you left. This article will be updated accordingly and I really appreciate you coming by and pointing out some of the mis-information.

Unknown said...

Thanks, SS. My intent wasn't to nit-pick, but to correct the dearth of mis-information that has historically surrounded his life and death. I'm glad you took my comments constructively and passed them on to the relevant parties.


GK said...

I appreciate the links, the work you do, and realize the addendum to the bio was a cut-n-paste. That being said, to refer to the gentleman who purchased the rights to Cooke's catalog as "a Jewish businessman" seems out of place as I believe his religion to be irrelevant to the story. Just sayin' man, besides that, great work again.

Simon666 said...

Added :

Sam Cooke At The Copa (RCA 1964)

donated by Nikos - thanks!

Check Nikos' great blog as well :

Anonymous said...

The Complete Specialty Recordings Of Sam Cooke With The Soul Stirrers




I haven't account in mediafire, I think that somebody must download the files and share cith a proper account

I hope enjoy with the music

This blog is excellent


Simon666 said...

Thanks for that!

Mr. Moo said...

The One And Only Sam Cooke (1969):

Mr. Soul (1963) (additional links):

The Best Of Sam Cooke (1962):

Night Beat (1963) (additional link):

Ain't That Good News (1964) (& additional links):

All Hits (1994) (& additional links):

Portrait Of A Legend 1951-1964 (additional links):

Not a fan of these warez sites below but anyway:

The Man And His Music (1986):

The Man Who Invented Soul (1957-63) Box Set 4CD (2000):

Sam Cooke Sings Billie Holiday (1976):

Simon666 said...

Thanks for all your hard work there Mr. Moo, much appreciated :)

Mr. Moo said...

You Send Me (3 CD) (2008):


Simon666 said...

Thanks again mr Moo!

Anonymous said...

hello im after a b side of sam cooke FAREWELL MY DARLING ,can someone post please love these albums THANK YOU

Eddye Oldschool said...

Friends, I am looking for an album that is a tribute to the master Sam Cooke.
Gerald Alston - Sings Sam Cooke (2008)
Did someone has this wonderful album?
Thank you.
A big hug and congratulations for your hard work.

Rodrigo López "Donny" said...

Great blog. I've just began my own blog about black music: I hope you like it and if you want we can change links. Just let me know in my cbox. Thanks very much

Gerard said...

Thanks from Holland

Cx. said...


I have a friend who truly wants a copy of "Cooke's Tour" converted to MP3 (or other) digital format.

If you, or any of your readers have it, or know of a still-working download somewhere, would you be willing to share it?

My friend loves Cooke so much that he wants all recordings, regardless of how well they were regarded... or not.

Thank you, and I am really enjoying your blog!


Anonymous said...

Harlem Square is one of the greatest Live albums I've ever heard. Thanks!

Simon666 said...

Link added for 'Twisting The Night Away' (RCA 1962):

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Anonymous said...

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den81164 said...

shake 1965 (change is gonna come)

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