Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Morning Vault: Sam Cooke--You Send Me (1957)

     Because of his long life and continued presence in the spotlight, Ray Charles is considered by many the father of soul music. While this technically may be true, it was another giant who gave it legitimacy beyond the clubs. Because of his early death, there are several generations who have missed the influence and legacy that was Sam Cooke.
      Soul music by definition is a blending of rhythm & blues, and gospel. Whereas Ray Charles' background wasn't necessarily in the church, what was seen as a blending of the sacred and profane divided many who thought it was sacrilege. Cooke's background was much different. He grew up the son of a pastor in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and after singing in several groups as a child and teenager, filled the role of tenor in the groundbreaking group, The Soul Stirrers.
     The stigma of crossing over from gospel to secular was enough that Cooke released his first single under the name "Dale Cook", which didn't fool many. However, the head of Specialty records, Art Rupe, gave Sam his blessing to leave for a secular career, although wasn't happy at the direction of the music and the singer finally had to separate himself from the label.
     Signing with Keen records, he recorded, "You Send Me", which was actually the B side of the record. The A-side, a reworking of George Gershwin's, "Summertime" was slated for release, the disc jockeys preferred the Cooke-penned song. It was his only number 1 song, but was the beginning of a long stay on the charts as he logged 17 top 20 hits up until his death in December of 1964

1 comment:

  1. Such a talented singer. It's a pity what happened to him.