Tracing the Highs and Tragic End of Sam Cooke Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of the birth of Sam Cooke, one of the most famous gospel and pop singers in American music history. Along with Ray Charles, Cooke was one of the earliest artists to cross over from gospel to pop music. By the end of his career, he heralded the advent of soul.

Tracing the Highs and Tragic End of Sam Cooke

Tracing the Highs and Tragic End of Sam Cooke

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Cover of 'The Triumph of Sam Cooke'

Hear Three Cooke Classics

'Jesus Gave Me Water'

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'You Send Me'

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'Chain Gang'

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Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of the birth of Sam Cooke, one of the most famous gospel and pop singers in American music history. Along with Ray Charles, Cooke was one of the earliest artists to span both musical genres. By the end of his career, he heralded the advent of soul.

Cooke's magical voice animated a long string of hits that came to a sudden end, when he was shot and killed in a motel manager's office in 1964, at the age of 33.

Writer Peter Guralnick talks about his biography of Cooke, Dream Boogie, which sets the singer and songwriter in the context of his times, his ambitions, his enormous accomplishments — and his dark side.

Dream Boogie
By Peter Guralnick

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Dream Boogie
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Peter Guralnick

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