Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sam Cooke-Singer/Songwriter/Entrepreneur




Have you ever written a song? No? 
Go ahead...I'll wait.



Not so easy, is it?  There is something magical of having a tune that melds perfectly with the lyrics. Now some songwriters are also gifted with a beautiful singing voice.  Sam Cooke would fit into that category. "An incredible natural singing voice and a smooth, effortless delivery that has never been surpassed" is how one biographer described this talent. 

He was born Samuel Cook in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1931.  (He later changed it to Sam COOKE, adding the "e", just because he liked the way it looked.)  In school, he was an "A" student and was voted "most likely to succeed".  Sam Cooke began his singing career the same way that many did, in church.  His father was a Church of Christ minister.  In 1950, he became the lead singer with the gospel group, The Soul Stirrers.   Crossing over into pop music, his song "You Send Me" in 1957 spent six weeks at number one on the R&B charts, and also, three weeks at number one on the Pop Billboard charts.  Sam Cooke also was one of the first to have his own record label at a time when songwriters were pressured into signing under the bigger name labels.

Look at the bottom of this post for a list of the songs that he wrote!  It would have been longer, I am sure, but his life was cut short at the age of 33.
There is still controversy over his death to this day, you may read about it just here.  You may look at any of his songs on YouTube. I have two here for you..."Bring It On Back" and that is Lou Rawls that you hear saying the "yeahs" and singing background! The last one, "A Change Is Gonna Come" was released after his death, and you will forgive me if I believed that it was one that had been written many years earlier, a spiritual if you will, but it is a Sam Cooke song, his very last one. 



If you do know someone who can write music and lyrics AND is a good singer, you should encourage them to develop this gift and share it with the world.  

I have never been known for subtlety! 





33 comments:

  1. Yes, it's like any talent -- you either have it or you don't! My talents, alas, do not fit into the singer/songwriter category.

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    1. I can write lyrics all day long but I can't write music to save my life. Notice, I didn't say I can write GOOD lyrics! HA! My talents...I am still searching.

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  2. There will never ever be another voice like Sam Cooke's. He is one of my favorite singers. You Send Me is the absolute dreamiest song ever. Am I gushing? Sorry.

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    1. His singing voice was incredible, but on TOP of that, to be able to write lyrics AND music. My son is like that too, as much as I love songwriters, not all of them can sing too, so it is a gift.

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  3. I have two Sam Cooke CDs in my small collection at home, and have loved his voice and his songs since - I confess - I first came across him via the famous Levis jeans ad in the 1980s, with "Wonderful World".
    To me, he also showed a lot of humour in some of his lyrics. So sad that he died so young.

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    1. The BEST kind of writing should have humor, all of life really! And even more sad that we don't know the true circumstances of his death.
      Now, shame on you, you have made me look at every Levi's ad from the 1980's and 1990's! (And I don't think it was Sam Cooke singing on the 1985 ad, the one that shows the record being placed on the turntable at the beginning and ends with the young man in the bathtub? Not quite sure who is singing, but I am pretty sure it isn't Sam Cooke. (His song, of course, but not him singing. Maybe couldn't get permission to use it for the Levi's ad? It's a mystery!)

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    2. Okay, with a bit more digging, I see that singer who sung the song in that Levi's TV ad was Tony Jackson, from Barbados who was a backup singer for Paul Young.
      Man, the things I have to make sure about in my life! LOL!

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  4. My assistance to the choir comes in the form of not singing! That means i have a great appreciation for those who do.

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    1. I once knew a sweet lady who was told she could be in the church choir but only if she would MOUTH the words! Oh dear! (And no, it WASN'T me!)

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  5. Always a favorite of mine and You Send Me is still one of the prettiest songs I know.

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    1. I know, it is dreamy and beautiful.

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  6. A change is gonna come is one of my favourites. I'm in awe of anyone who can sing or play a musical instrument. x

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    1. Sing and play a musical instrument and also be able to write music and lyrics!

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  7. Such a wonderful singer/songwriter and to have his life cut short in such a bizarre way is so sad. Who will ever know the true story. His music is wonderful and that will live on forever. I think your son has a good fan in his Mom..and rightly so!

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    1. Music does live forever and I am grateful for the music that he left us.
      Yes, my son is also a gifted songwriter and guitar player and singer!

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  8. I do love Sam Cooke sweet voice. Glad we can still hear his music. I encourage music every chance I get. Blessings and good wishes to your son. xoxo, Susie

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    1. Such a sweet voice, you don't often hear people say that, but it is so true! And also, his phrasing, just perfect!
      Thanks for your well wishes for my son, sweet Susie! x

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  9. I have written a song before but only the melody. I had a friend who was great at writing lyrics. I wish we had lived up to our aspirations of making something out of it but it never came together.

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    1. It is never too late! If you can write music, why that is wonderful. And I am all about the melody, so please put some words to it and have it on your blog! :-)

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  10. I think we should encourage people no matter their talents. Everyone has some kind of talent that needs to be shared. Could it be your son is a wonderful song writer...I'm thinking he is.

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    1. Yes! Christopher is a wonderful songwriter! And when I was looking up info on Sam Cooke, it occurred to me how that those who can both sing and write music and lyrics need to be encouraged, like my son!

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  11. Before his untimely death at the young age of 33, Cooke did live a full life, cramming so much into it.

    Married and divorced twice; three children along with two or more born out of wedlock. As well as rising to the heights in his singer/songwriting abilities.

    I loved his music.

    There certainly is much mystery surrounding his death...who to believe....

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    1. A complicated life, to be sure, but a great talent.

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  12. He was so talented and died so young. Just sad, really. You wonder what he would have done if he had lived longer.
    Subtle? You? WHAT? lol xoDiana

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    1. Diana, guess what? This came to me overnight... Could you pretty please send me your book and autograph it too? I have such a thing about books and yours would be so special to me!!! Stepping on my scales today has NOTHING to do with this thought!So, is it a deal??? You are right, I am not subtle!!!!

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  13. Same here. I'm not bad with lyrics but can't write a tune to save myself. I've known musicians who played in bands that had no interest in song lyrics whatsoever even for the songs they were playing on which I find amazing. Always been really into the words and meaning myself of any song I've liked as it adds another huge extra dimension to the music.
    Not a bad list but look up 'songs written by Hank Williams' :o)

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    1. Of course, I love the lyrics and they are always important to me but when they are perfectly matched with a melody, it is magic!
      Why, you surely know that I am aware of Hank Williams and his songwriting ability, my friend! (I must have done a post about him, I am sure I did, will have to go back and see!)
      What passes for music these days, well....

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  14. Replies
    1. You are welcome! Stop here anytime for good music, that sweet soul music!

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  15. Memories ... memories.
    We still enjoy his music

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hey Jan! Glad to know that you like Sam Cooke, you are showing your good taste!

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  16. Loved that last photo, Kay!!! I remember Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" playing on the radio. How sad that he died so young. As I read that list of his songs, I heard song after song in my mind. Thanks for the memories, Kay!

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    1. Now you have made me think of Bob Hope, he always had Thanks For The Memories as his song! You know, I really miss him.

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