Monday Open Thread | The Protests At Standing Rock - This Nation Was Founded on Genocide Lawrence O’Donnell: From the start of colonial intrusion, the free and original peoples of this hemisphere “have been t...
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tribute to Sam Cooke
Since the President and First Lady are giving tribute to Motown for "Black History Month," I thought I'd give a little tribute to Sam Cooke. What people seem to forget is that Sam Cooke was the first black soul singer to own his own record company and that he paved the way in the music industry for entrepreneurs like Berry Gordy and cleared the way for other black singers.
Cooke was born in 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His father was a preacher. When Cooke hit the music scene he had a choir boy image and was one of the best soul singers who ever lived. Muhammad Ali was one of his closest friends. He grew up poor and used singing as his hustle to make a few nickels here and there. As a professional singer, he had one hit after another and was very popular at the time. A few of his songs, for example, “Chain Gang” and “A Change Gone Come” were songs about Jim Crow, but Cooke made them soulful hits. He was active in the Civil Rights Movement.
Cooke’s death shocked the nation because he was murdered in a motel and the circumstances surrounding his murder were rather unpleasant and tragic. He was thirty-three when he died. Nevertheless, the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death still raise questions to this day. Two funerals were held for Cooke in which around 100,000 people showed up to moan and pay their respects. One well-known celebrity that sung at his funeral was Ray Charles. Cooke was loved by his fans.