Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Life of and Mysterious Death of Sam Cooke

“It’s been a hard time living, but I’m afraid to die” .....Sam Cooke, song ... "A Change Gonna Come"


The Legendary Sam Cooke died December 11, 1964, but his legacy and his music …. and his very presence … is as much alive today, some 47 years later, as it was so very long ago. Also still very much alive, are the unanswered questions surrounding the untimely and mysterious death of this beloved singer and composer.
Those who were close to Sam, as well as those who grew up with his music, will claim that he was the inventor of soul music, and … that would certainly be hard to dispute. He was one the first black entertainers to found both a record label and a publishing company. He was an outgoing, charming and handsome man with a voice as smooth as spun silk. He grew up in the church, and had already made a name for himself with a gospel group, the Soul Stirrers, before transitioning to soul, blues and pop music. His gospel music is still played to this day. It is hard to hear “You Send Me”, and “For Sentimental Reasons”, without “going to a special moment in time.” It is hard to listen to the hauntingly beautiful “A Change is Gonna Come” and not feel the anguish of the times, but …. at the same time … the conviction in which he sang one of the most powerful songs to come of the civil rights era. He not only sang this song, but he wrote this song, his inspiration coming from his very own experiences, and belief in a “better day” to come.

And, it is hard not question the “official report” given to the public concerning the mysterious fatal shooting of this legendary icon, son, sibling, husband, father, and friend … in December 1964.

Join co-hosts Debbie Barth and Linda Alexander, with special guest Vincent Graves ... Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm EST, as we celebrate his life, and speculate together as to what really happened that cold December night Sam Cooke was fatally shot by Bertha Lee Franklin. You can listen to us live at We welcome you to participate with us in the chat room, or call in at 347-994-3835. We want to hear your insight on Sam Cooke …. favorite songs, or stories … and what you really think happened that night at the Hacienda Hotel. Was justice really served in court, or was a very special dish of conspiracy served up instead. Was Sam set up by an alleged hooker Elisa Boyer and hotel manager Bertha Lee Franklin … or were they recruited by someone or something bigger … that would put a different “spin” on the entire record industry, should the real truth be known.

Unless this case is re-opened, we may never really know the truth. And to be clear, the scenarios discussed on this show concerning that night are mere speculation and hypothesis. But one thing that is very clear is that the investigation was botched the moment that police entered the room and found him on the floor. Reading the “official report” clearly left more questions than answers. And, the two “witnesses” giving testimony were Elisa Boyer … an alleged hooker whose “source of income” was not allowed in testimony and who, in 1979, was found guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of her boyfriend … and Bertha Lee Franklin ….the shooter.

We welcome you to visit the links and resources we used as the basis for this show, and again, invite you to join us in conversation.



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