James Brown may be the godfather of soul, but I’ve always considered Sam Cooke to be the godfather of R&B. And not that shitty, Trey Songz or Chris Brown R&B. I’m talking about driving music or lazy Sunday breakfast, reading The New York Times magazine music. But Sam Cooke’s the man. He has a tremendous catalogue. It hard to pinpoint just five songs to listen to, but I’ve tried my best.
1. Sam Cooke- Bring It On Home To Me (1963)
This is my favorite Sam Cooke song and you need to hear it live. Recorded in 1963, at the Harlem Square Club, you realize how influential he was on modern singers. He STARTS by breaking it down and then launches into his toe-tapping classic. As important Otis Redding was to soul music with his gravel filled voice, Sam Cooke was that important to R&B.
2. Sam Cooke- Nothing Can Change This Love (1962)
I know there is “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys or “At Last” by Etta James, but how about this song as your wedding song. It’s got everything you need; cake and ice cream, sugar and spice, it’s simple and easy to dance to.
3. Sam Cooke- Wonderful World (1959)
This song was recorded in the 50s! The 50s!!!!
4. Sam Cooke- Another Saturday Night (1963)
I want to do a post about songs that influenced hip-hop, that aren’t hip-hop songs by basic description. This would be number 1. “Another Saturday night and I got nobody, but I just got PAID.” I mean come on.
5. Sam Cooke- You Send Me (1957)
Another timeless classic, “You Send Me” was recorded in 1957(!) and has been covered by Michael Bolton, Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole, The Supreme and even Van Morrison.