Samuel Cook was born on January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the son of a Pentecostal minister who would soon move his family to Chicago where as an exemplary student in school, young Sam joined other family members to form the gospel singing group, “The Singing Children”. In 1950 as lead singer of the popular “Soul Stirrers”, Sam Cook was recording for Specialty Records, where his voice soon gained fame, encouraging his move into secular music.
In mid 1957, while changing the spelling of his last name to Cooke, Sam signed with Keen Records, who a few months later had a #1 multi-million seller written by Sam, “You Send Me”. More hits would follow, “I’ll Come Running Back to You”, “For Sentimental Reasons”, “Lonely Island”, “You Were Made for Me”, “Win Your Love for Me”, “Love You Most of All”, “Everybody Likes to Cha Cha Cha”, “Only Sixteen” and “Wonderful World”.
Signing with RCA Victor in 1960, Sam Cooke topped the charts with “Chain Gang”. It was followed by “Sad Mood”, “Cupid”, “Twistin’ the Night Away”, “Having a Party”, “Bring It On Home To Me”, “Send Me Some Lovin’”, “Another Saturday Night”, “Frankie And Johnny”, “Little Red Rooster”, “Good News”, “Good Times” and “Shake”.
Equally successful as a singer/songwriter on both the Pop and Rhythm & Blues charts, Sam Cooke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
At 33 years of age, Sam Cooke died in Hollywood on December 11, 1964.