Sam Cooke: A Man Of Many Faces

1546 words - 6 pages

“Sam was a prince of a man” were the words used to describe the late great by “the Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin (Crossing Over). Sam Cooke was far more than a prince he was a king. Cooke’s life and legacy is one that will never be matched. He was a pioneer in the music business, an unmatched vocalist, the voice of the civil rights movement, and a man with an insatiable appetite for women. He was a musical pioneer creating a sound that the world had never heard before. Cooke successfully crossed pop music and gospel to create soul music. The mastermind that is Sam Cooke created a song that would “…exemplify the sixties' Civil Rights Movement” (Wikipedia). Sam Cooke was at the height of his career when he was murder. Cooke was an extraordinary man with an ordinary weakness, his desire for women. These desires ultimately lead to his untimely death. Sam Cooke was a man of many faces the artist, the activist, the administrator, and finally the adulterer.
The critical acclaimed “A Change Gonna Come” begins with Cooke’s smooth yet emotional vocals yelping “I was born by the river in a little tent”. The words are not very far from the truth. Cooke began his life on January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Born Samuel Cook, he was the fifth child of Reverend Charles and Annie Mae Cook. Reverend Cook moved his family from the “up from the Mississippi Delta” (Krajicek) to Chicago in 1933. Cooke was raised in a God fearing household were his father instilled the importance of working hard for everything you want in life. At a very young age Cooke made it clear to his family that he intended on being a being a singer; he never planned to work a normal job (Krajicek). Cooke by no means desired to live the life of an average job, because he was anything but average.
Cooke’s career started at a very young age in a gospel group with his 4 of his siblings called the Singing Children. At a very young age Cooke aspired to be a successful professional singer. By the time he was in high school he had already been singing with the Singing Children for a decade. Cooke felt he had out grown the Singing Children and decided to start a group called the Highway QC’s with four of his schoolmates (Krajicek). The group enjoyed minor success on the on the gospel circuit, but the Soul Stirrers presented Cooke with a better opportunity. The Soul Stirrers had taken Cooke to the height of his gospel career many considered them to be the most influence gospel acts of that time. Cooke achieved much with the Soul Stirrers but he still wanted the success that would come along with a crossover into popular secular music. He had a deep desire to sing secular music and experience the success that comes along with being in that world. Cooke was afraid of insulting his gospel fans so he recorded his first mainstream single under the name Dale Cooke. After he acquired the approval of his father he began releasing music under his own name. In December of 1957 Cooke nearly...

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