Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers: Jesus Gave Me Water

Tomorrow evening at 9PM, PBS will be featuring as part of their American Masters series, “Sam Cooke – Crossing Over.” It will feature his music and interviews with numerous individuals who have been influenced and inspired by soulful sound of Sam Cooke. As part of the Spiritual Sunday theme, I am featuring Sam and the Soul Stirrers with “Jesus Gave Me Water.”

Cooke sang with the Soul Stirrers from 1950 to 1957, when he left the group to concentrate on his secular music career. While he had many more hits on the R & B charts, he will be best remembered for scores of singles that charted within the top 20 of the Hot 100 chart. Some of the better known Cooke recordings included the following:
  • “You Send Me” 1957 – #1
  • “Wonderful World” 1960 – #12
  • “Chain Gang” 1960 – #2
  • “Cupid” 1961 – #17
  • “Twistin’ the Night Away” 1962 – #9
  • “Bring it on Home to Me” 1962 – #13
  • “Another Saturday Night” 1963 – #10
Cooke also was an early music pioneer as he started his own publishing house and record company (SAR Records) at a time when most performers were not involved in the business side of music industry. Unfortunately, Cooke’s life was cut short in what was ruled by a Los Angeles County Coroner’s inquest as a justifiable homicide.

The ruling sparked controversy as critics deemed the evidence and the case to be circumstantial. Cooke was only 33 when he died from the effects of being shot on December 11, 1964. Within two weeks of his passing, RCA records released his final top 10 hit: “Shake.” The single became a double sided hit as it was backed with what would become a memorable Civil Rights anthem, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Although “Shake” did well charting at #9, its B-side was a #1 hit record.

Truly, the music industry lost one of its great voices.

PBS’ Promo American Master: “Sam Cooke – Crossing Over”

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