Sam Cooke

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Performer

Inducted in: 1986

Inducted by: Herb Alpert

Nominated in: 1986

First Eligible: 1986 Ceremony

Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1987 (ranked #23) .

Essential Albums (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3Amazon CD
Live at Harlem Square Club (1963)

Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
You Send Me (1957)
Wonderful World (1960)
Chain Gang (1960)
Cupid (1961)
Bring It on Home to Me (1962)
Twistin’ the Night Away (1962)
A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)

Sam Cooke @ Wikipedia

Sam Cooke Videos


10 comments so far (post your own)

Wow here is a funny.. I am the first to post on Sam Cook!!!I wonder why ?? Heck there are lots of post on other inductees.I guess he just didn't amount to much.. LOL Other than he is all talent etc....

Posted by mrxyz on Friday, 06.25.10 @ 21:29pm

mrxyz, get off your high horse, hardly anybody has said anything because Sam Cooke was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century and there's nobody who would dispute this, he was also rightfully inducted into the very first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class so nobody has anything to complain against except for you apparently.

Posted by Tahvo Parvianen on Tuesday, 03.8.11 @ 06:57am

Sam Cooke in my mind, was one of the top three greatest singers in the history of Rock, Pop, Soul, etc.
He died when I was in first grade, but "You Send Me" was the number one song on Billboard's chart the day I was born. A great showman, a smart businessman. He tuly had it all. He was blessed with great looks as well as an exceptional ability to write a song...from 1957 to 1963, he lived in the "Top Ten". His work with the Soul Stirrers is legendary. If I could have only one song on my would be a Sam Cooke song. Thanks Sam for all of the great music!!!!

Posted by Dave Cowley on Tuesday, 02.7.12 @ 16:32pm

The first Sam Cooke song I ever heard was "A Change Is Gonna Come" and I was taken away by his voice. In my opinion, Sam is the father of soul and while Ray Charles may have started the genre, Sam was the one who made it popular. He was also a good businessman. It's just so sad that his life was taken too soon, but his sound carried on through the 60s, 70s and 80s. The main singer that Cooke influenced the most was Rod Stewart. Thanks, Sam for all you've done for soul! God Bless you, man!

Posted by Andrew on Wednesday, 10.10.12 @ 11:54am

I'll always think of this classic scene from Animal House whenever I hear Wonderful World (great song):

A Change is Gonna Come is going to receive the Towering Song Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame soon. More details here:

Congratulations, Sam! It's a bittersweet honor as you are sadly not here to accept it, but know that your name and your music will always be cherished and enjoyed by generations of fans.

Posted by Zach on Sunday, 04.28.13 @ 02:38am

I'm with you there, Zach on Sam Cooke. The two songs of his that I heard while watching "Animal House" were "Wonderful World" and "Twistin' The Night Away". Without Sam, people like Marvin Gaye and Rod Stewart would not have be prefromers.

By the way, here are my non-musical interests and hobbies:

Art particularly Renaissance and Impressionism paintings
Foreign Languages
Boy Scouts
Commercial Aviation
World cultures
Military history

Posted by Andrew on Sunday, 04.28.13 @ 17:48pm

Considered by many to be the father of soul, Sam Cooke combined sensuality and spirtuality, sophistication and soul, idol looks and gospel poise. His delightful voice won him a devoted following first as the led singer of The Soul Stirrers, then as a solo artist.

Equally important was that he was the among the first major black singers to attend to the business side of the music industry, and founded a record lable and a publishing company as an extension of his singing composing careers. However, these business dealings didn't stop him from being engaged with the iusses of the day like civil rights.

Sam's own musical career bridged gaps between white and black audiences and so few rock n' rock singers had overcome the color bar, much less succeed at doing, and between generations.

Chuck Berry and Little Richard brought white and black teenagers together, James Brrown sold thousands of records to whites and blacks alike and Muddy Waters got young folkies and older black transplants on the same page, but Cooke appealed to all of the above and white teenagers' parents too and yet, he never lost his touch with his core black audience. In a way, Sam's appeal anticipated that of The Beatles in depth.

It is very heartbreaking that Sam Cooke was taken from us so early, but the the music that he created with songs like "You Send Me", "A Change is Gonna Come" and "Twistin' the Night Away" have influenced some of the giants of soul like Al Green, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Rod Stewart.

God bless you, Sam!

Posted by Andrew on Friday, 05.24.13 @ 20:16pm

If I was to pick the presenters of the inductees of 1986, they would be:

Keith Richards and Joe Perry for Chuck Berry
Michael Jackson for James Brown
Steve Winwood for Ray Charles
Rod Stewart for Sam Cooke
Billy Joel for Fats Damino
Barry Gibb for The Everly Brothers
Paul McCartney for Buddy Holly
Elton John for Jerry Lee Lewis
Daivd Bowie for Little Richard
Tom Jones for Elvis Presley

Johnny Cash for Jimmie Rodgers
Eric Clapton for Robert Johnson
Ahmet Ertegun for Jimmy Yancey

Bruce Springsteen for John Hammond

Casey Kasem and Scott Muni for Alan Freed
Jerry Lee Lewis for Sam Philips

Posted by Andrew on Monday, 01.6.14 @ 22:49pm

If Live at the Harlem Square Club was recorded in 1963, it was only published in 1985.

So, 1985 should be its "album year" and it shouldn't be inducted before 2010.

Posted by Florian on Wednesday, 01.8.14 @ 14:44pm

Considered by many to be the most important singer in soul music, Sam Cooke could blend sensuality and spirituality, sophistication and soul, idol looks and gospel pose. He was also soul's most beloved performer in the white and black communities.

His warm voice won him a devoted following first as led singer of The Soul Stirrers and sent his first secular song "You Send Me." to the top of the pop and R&B charts in 1957. It would be the first of 29 Top Forty hits for the son of a Baptist minister. Sam's career is defined by his early embrace of gospel and his move into the pop and R&B world.

Joining The Soul Stirrers at age 15, he was the lead vocalist from 1950 to 1956. He recorded his first secular song, "Loveable" using a false name so as not to endanger his following in the gospel community. Nonetheless, with this recording, he had crossed a line that made it impossible to carry on with The Soul Stirrers. His first solo success came when he recorded songs like "You Send Me," and "Wonderful World." In 1960, the hits kept coming for Cooke with "Chain Gang," "Cupid," and "Twistin' the Night Away."

A versatile singer who never settled on just one style, Sam could do everything from sophisticated balladry to raw, raspy rhythm & blues.

In addition, Cooke was among the first modern black performers to attend to the business side of the music industry and founded both his own publishing company and a record label. Yet, these business interests didn't stop him from getting involved in the issues of the day, including the struggle for civil rights.

Sam's own career bridged the gap between black and white audiences that few artists have tried to overcome, much less succeeded in doing. Chuck Berry or Little Richard brought black and white teenagers together, James Brown sold thousands of records to white teens and black listeners of all ages, and Muddy Waters got young white folkies and black transplants on the same page. Sam appealed to all of the above, and the parents of white teenagers as well, yet he never lost his believability with his core black audience. In a way, his appeal anticipated that of The Beatles, in great extent and depth.

Sam Cooke is to me the quintessential soul artist whose voice reiterates every time one hears a Rod Steward or an Otis Redding song. It’s extremely sad that he was taken from us at a young age, but his music will always be there.

Posted by Andrew on Tuesday, 02.25.14 @ 21:28pm

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