It’s Black History Month, so why not feature a man who I consider to be one of the four greatest voices* in the history of pop music? I’m talking about the astonishing, amazing, absolutely one-of-a-kind Sam Cooke. Every time I listen to a song by Cooke, I’m freshly bedazzled by the absolute control he has over his instrument. A voice like his–a kind of gravely high tenor, one of the most unusual kinds of voices to hear–can be so very difficult to control, but Cooke always homes right in on the pitch he intends to hit, and his melismatic gifts are the stuff of legend. Sam Cooke makes singing just about any song sound utterly effortless, but when you try to sing along, you can almost feel him leaving you in the dust, grinning as he goes.
I don’t want to dwell on the awful facts of Sam Cooke’s very strange death, so I won’t. But I will note that the world was robbed of one of its greatest voices that day.
Here are several songs by Sam Cooke.
* The other three are Freddie Mercury, Annie Lennox, and Ann Wilson.