Brown - Dark
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Place of Death
Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death
Killed by Bertha Franklin under mysterious circumstances
Soul, Early R&B, Gospel, Black Gospel, Religious
Elegant, Confident, Joyous, Passionate, Relaxed, Carefree, Cheerful, Gentle, Romantic, Smooth, Soothing, Earnest, Stylish, Exuberant, Amiable/Good-Natured, Laid-Back/Mellow, Happy, Refined/Mannered, Sweet, Plaintive, Energetic
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Profile Bio Text
Sam Cooke was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 22, 1931. He was one of seven children of Charles Cooke Sr., who was a Baptist minister. When Sam sang as a little boy in church, everyone made note that his voice had "something special." He sang in his father`s church until joining a group called the Highway Q.C.`s in his sophomore year in high school.
When Sam replaced R.H. Harris, the legendary lead singer for the extremely popular gospel group called The Soul Stirrers, it was the beginning of Sam`s meteoric rise. Cooke sang with the group for six years, traveling back and forth across the country and gained a wealth of knowledge regarding how black people were treated. His refusal to sing at a segregated concert led to what many have described as one of the first real efforts in civil disobedience and helped usher in the new Civil Rights Movement.
After becoming one of the most recognized names in gospel, Sam decided to crossover from gospel to the more lucrative world of popular music. Because of his good looks and intonation, he was an instant success. His first single released in 1957 was "You Send Me" and sold over 1.7 million copies, and made Sam an "overnight success." Considered the very first Soul single, "You Send Me" combined Cooke`s gospel background with rhythm and blues.
Having already established his own publishing company (KAGS Music) and record label (SAR/Derby), Cooke signed an unprecedented record deal with RCA in January of 1960. The deal allowed Cooke to retain his songwriter`s royalties, a financially lucrative move since he had written most of his best-selling material.
Sam married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Campbell, in 1959 and had they had three children. Tragically, Vincent their youngest, drowned in their swimming pool at age four in June 1964.
According to the "official version" of events, Cooke ran into Elisa Boyer at Martoni`s restaurant on the evening of December 10, 1964. After making a stop at a nightclub called PJ`s, the two continued on to the Hacienda Motel in El Segundo, California on the early morning of December 11, 1964.
Cooke supposedly dragged Ms. Boyer into the room and proceeded to undress her against her will. She escaped while Cooke was in the bathroom, scooping up her clothes in addition to some of Cooke`s, and an estimated $5000 of his money. Cooke, half-dressed, was said to have gone to the motel manager`s office and knocked violently at the door, provoking Bertha Franklin to shoot him in self-defense.
There were several questionable factors surrounding Sam Cooke`s death, including shoddy investigation by the Los Angeles Police Dept., several unasked and unanswered questions in the coroner`s inquest, and the questionable background of Boyer and Franklin themselves. Boyer, for example, was a well-known prostitute in Hollywood (begging the question why would she say she was in a motel against her will?), and was said to have routinely run robbery scams with Franklin - an ex-prostitute herself. It has long been the theory that Sam Cooke was taken to the Hacienda against his will, and that Boyer and Franklin were pawns in the cover-up.
Sam Cooke was becoming a powerful figure not just on the music scene, but on the business side of the industry as well. His refusal to succumb to outside influences had become career-threatening, and behind-the-scene factors concerning his death have been written about extensively in a biography from his family`s perspective.
Couple Profile Source
Dunbar High School
Full Name at Birth
Has Detailed Data (Music)
Claim to Fame
Hits: "You Send Me", "A Change Is Gonna Come", "Cupid
Samuel Cook (January 22, 1931 â€“ December 11, 1964), known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an American singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur.
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Music Profile Complete
Music Genre (Text)
Soul, gospel, rhythm and blues
Vocals, piano, guitar
Specialty, Keen, RCA
The Singing Children, The Highway Q.C.'s, The Soul Stirrers, J. W. Alexander, Lou Rawls, Bobby Womack, Otis Redding
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