The Black Sinatra

For those who really know me, this finding by the folks at Spotify (watch until the end) is no surprise. On this 58th anniversary of his shocking killing, an event that preceded my birth by five-and-a-half months, Sam Cooke has had a profound influence on my thinking and on my aspirations as well as my musical tastes, and, as a vocalist of the first order, on generations of singers worldwide.

A Gospel music phenom as a teenager, in seven short years as a secular singer that began with the release of the self-penned classic “You Send Me” in September 1957, Sam managed to carve out a distinctive career as a pioneering Pop, Soul, and R&B singer and songwriter, and, as an entrepreneur that is revered to this day. After President-Elect Barack Obama quoted a line from his magnum opus ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ on Election Night 2008, courtesy of various interpretations on YouTube, TikTok, and beyond, that song is as popular as it ever has been.

Here’s what Pop crooner Michael Bublé said about Sam in an interview earlier this year:

He also lauds everyone from Pink to Eminem, but saves his highest praise for Sam Cooke, whom he calls “the greatest voice in the history of music.”

“It might sound strange for some of you listening out there, [but] I’ve always considered myself a soul singer,” he says. “When people tried to put me into a box and asked me what I was, well, soul singer was always what I wanted to be and who I felt I was. And one of the big reasons for that is Sam Cooke, the greatest voice in the history of music. Not the genre, not a genre, not soul, not R&B. I think music. Sam Cooke was a very special, special performer, a special writer, an incredible human being.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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