"I think the secret is really observation. Well, if you observe what's going on and try to figure out how people are thinking, I think you can always write something that people will understand." (Sam Cooke)
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
If Sam Cooke, one of the greatest African-American soul singers in the genre's history, had been Irish, he might have kept company with the likes of the great balladeer and classical tenor John McCormack. If he had been born Italian, he might have starred in the refined, lyrical Mozart opera roles usually reserved for those with extreme musical sensitivity. Such was the level of excellence in Cooke's inner understanding of his own voice, which was capable of exquisite classical precision and a finesse in phrasing that lay far beyond the norm. He could have prospered and attained greatness in any genre of his choice, but considering the timing of the American audience and his African-American heritage, Sam Cooke instead pioneered a new genre and became its greatest practitioner by blending black musical traditions that incorporated all the refinement and beauty of European classical genres yet still spoke from the heart of his rural American roots.