You send me: the life and times of Sam Cooke

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W. Morrow, Jan 1, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 424 pages
In late 1957, when "You Send Me" burst upon the pop scene and shot to number one, it was seen as a phenomenal debut by a young unknown. But in African-American communities across the nation, Sam Cooke was already one of gospel music's most charismatic stars - and his crossover into rock 'n' roll heralded the beginning of a new era.
The remarkable string of hits that followed - "Only Sixteen," "Chain Gang," "Cupid," "Twistin' the Night Away," "Bring It on Home to Me," "Havin' a Party," "Shake" - earned Cooke the title of The Man Who Invented Soul Music.
At the same time, Cooke became one of the music business's first African-American entrepreneurs, fighting for the publishing rights to his songs and founding his own record label. Enmeshed in the beginnings of the civil rights movement, he crisscrossed the country insisting that rock 'n' roll be fully integrated. And he encouraged younger singers like Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson to follow his crossover example.
Despite a near-fatal car accident and the tragic death of his infant son, Sam Cooke managed to forge a career that artists such as Rod Stewart, Keith Richards, and Aaron Neville still revere. Indeed, Sam Cooke was one of the first names inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Just as Cooke achieved a new level of success with sold-out appearances at New York's Copacabana, his life came to a sudden end: He was discovered half-naked in a seedy, south Los Angeles motel with a bullet through his heart. His was a murder that is still viewed by many as inexplicable - and unsolved.

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You send me: the life of Sam Cooke

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When Sam Cooke left the Soul Stirrers in 1957 to cross over into popular music, the gospel scene lost one of its biggest stars. The rest of the world gained the distinctive voice of the first ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

Daniel Wolff is the author of You Send Me: The Life and Times of Sam Cooke, which won the Ralph J. Gleason Award for best music book of 1995, and he was nominated for a Grammy for his liner notes for a recent Sam Cooke box set. His journalism has appeared in Vogue, the Nation, and Doubletake, and his poetry in the Paris Review, the Partisan Review, and the Threepenny Review.

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