1950s EASY-POP Songs and Singers...on the verge of Rock 'n Roll
Only Sixteen recorded by Sam Cooke Written by Sam Cooke Introduced June 8, 1959, on Keen records #2022
Considered by many as the definitive soul singer, Sam Cook recorded dozens of pop songs in the 50s and 60s. His recording of Only Sixteen has youthful fifties imagery ‘she is too young to fall in love—he is too young to know’, a lively arrangement, and dynamic back-up singers. The joy and happiness in the song emanates from Sam Cooke whose gospel roots give his recordings the sense of release that you rarely hear outside of gospel music. Produced by the small Keen label, Only Sixteen placed a meager 28th on the record charts. His first #1 hit, You Send Me, in 1957, was written by his brother Charles ‘L.C.’ Cooke. After his move to RCA in 1960, he had hits with Cupid, Chain Gang, Twistin’ the Night Away, and Another Saturday Night. As a teenager Sam Cooke joined a gospel group, the Highway Q.C.’s. In 1950 he joined the Soul Stirrers, one of the top gospel groups in the country, and was the lead singer until 1956. He was appreciative of popular music, particularly the melodious, harmony-based sound of the Ink Spots whose influence can be heard in his recordings of You Send Me and For Sentimental Reasons.
Quintessential Fifties lyric:
"She was too young to fall in love and I was too young to know"