meant to write this up last week, but sam cooke died 49 years ago last week, on december 11th, 1964. his birthday is coming up in january but his music has meant so much to me that i had to get this post up one way or another.
portrait of a legend, a greatest hits cd and the first of his music i ever bought, has been in my car, along with grateful dead reckoning and rolling stones exile on main street, since i first got my license. well, they were, until my car was ransacked by some nefarious college kids. as roy mcavoy says, “such is life.”
his live album from the harlem square club in the early 60’s should be required listening, especially for kids coming up on edm and current pop music. not that that stuff doesn’t have its place, but there is a wildly out of whack under-appreciation for music like this.
i also just got what i’ve heard is the definitive biography on him, called dream boogie by peter guralnick. normally i’m not a big auto/biography guy because life is short enough as it is that i think we should be living our own lives instead of reading about someone else’s, but a lot of times reading about how someone who has inspired you spent their time here can be equally inspiring as the work that drew you to them in the first place.
so put on portrait, live, or just pick a youtube video and go from there, but don’t let the month pass without listening to something from him. as the magnificent montague said,
when the humming is over
and time finds its soul
all i can say to you darling
is sam cooke’s yours
he’ll never grow old