A few weeks ago, Rolling Stone Magazine released its 200 Greatest Singers List. In what is certain to spur a number of spirited debates, this list will make news for who it excludes as much as for who it includes – and where they are placed.
On a personal note, I’m delighted to see that many of of my favorites made the cut: Frank Sinatra, David Ruffin, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Solomon Burke, Steve Perry, the tragically under-appreciated Clyde McPhatter, Jackie Wilson and Gladys Knight (did they really place 100+ singers ahead of them 🤔?) Teddy Pendergrass, Dion, Amy Winehouse, and a few others. Still, from my perspective, the likes of Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops, Marvin Junior of The Dells, Sting, and Sananda Maitreya (formerly known as Terence Trent D’Arby) would’ve been welcome additions.
But make no mistake about it: on this 92nd anniversary of his birth, I’m here to talk about Sam Cooke.
Reflect, if you will, on the fact that a voice that was silenced 58 years ago the 11th of last month in a still controversial shooting was ranked #3, behind Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, respectively – two still relatively contemporary voices who left us in 2018 and 2012.
The man hasn’t sung a note in almost six decades.
To borrow a quote that accompanied the list:
“There is American popular music before Sam Cooke and popular music after.”Joe Gross, Rolling Stone Magazine
It’s somewhat redemptive to see the ‘pundits’ confirm what 10,000+ members of Facebook’s Sam Cooke Club have known all along.
That’s a #1 in our book.
Happy Birthday, Sam 🎉