1950s EASY-POP Songs and Singers...on the verge of Rock 'n Roll
Sam Cooke (born January 22, 1931)
Famous EASY-POP hit single during the 50s: You Send Me 1957
Sam Cooke had another pop hit with Chain Gang in 1960.
Recording career with hits on the charts: 1957-1966 Record Labels: Keen & RCA
Sam Cooke, a Baptist minister’s son, was born in Mississippi and grew up in Chicago. An ‘A’ student, he sang in choirs and at 19 was the lead singer of the ‘Soul Stirrers.’ After six years in gospel music, Sam Cooke burst onto the pop scene with You Send Me. The song’s innovative blend of gospel, pop, and R&B stayed on the charts for six months, rising to #1 in both the R&B and pop markets. He recorded secular songs in 1956 as ‘Dale Cook’ on Specialty records, then a string of hits on Keen records led to a contract with RCA. His records sold to white teenagers yet he never lost his credibility with his core black audience. During his short 8-year pop career he wrote many of the songs that he recorded including You Send Me, Chain Gang, Only Sixteen, and Cupid. Sam Cooke was among the original inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He died at age 21, under mysterious circumstances, of a gunshot wound at a seedy motel in Los Angeles.