Sam Cooke


Image by Jack Wolfe

One of Cooke’s most famous songs is “A Change Is Gonna Come.” It is considered one of the greatest songs to come from the Civil Rights Movement. This song closed the gap between his gospel and pop paths. Cooke

Sam Cooke was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on January 22, 1931. He was one of eight children of a Baptist minister Charles Cook and his wife Annie Mae Cook. Cooke joined the Soul Stirrers (one of the top gospel groups in the country) in 1950 and worked with them for six years. Cooke’s main goal was to reach out of the religious community and the black community.

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.

Cooke did achieve the financial and creative independence that he wanted, including more money than any black performer had ever been given before, and the eventual ownership of his recordings beginning in November of 1963.

Sadly, Cooke died at age 33, 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

“That song captures the human experience,” said art teacher Kat Rakel-Ferguson.

Cooke’s effect on society and the way his music effects people still will never end..

“Honestly you know as a singer grows older his conception goes a little bit deeper if a singer tries to find out what’s happening in life it gives him a better insight on the story he is trying to sing.”  – Sam Cooke.