“…He had an incomparable voice. Sam Cooke could sing anything and make it work. But when you’re talking about his strength as a singer, range is not relevant. It was his power to deliver — it was about his phrasing, the totality of his singing,” — Van Morrison, for Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Singers Of All Time, ranking Cooke at No. 4
This Best Of Sam Cooke album was the beacon that kept Cooke’s most popular songs in the public eye. Between 1957 and his death seven years later, Cooke recorded an average of one Top Ten single every four months! And now on this single LP, you can relive the timeless best known and best-loved Sam Cooke classics.
You Send Me
Having a Party
For a couple of generations this was the first – and often only – Sam Cooke album they owned. Although there are more ambitious collections that show Cooke’s remarkable range and diversity, this is still the best starting place. These are Sam Cooke’s biggest commercial hits. This is the message in a bottle that brought his gifts to millions of people.
What is it that makes Cooke’s music so irresistible? Well, first the voice, of course. So good, in fact, was Cooke as a vocalist that Atlantic Records vice president Jerry Wexler said matter-of-factly, “Sam Cooke was the best singer who ever lived, no contest.” But beyond just his voice, it’s the phrasing that makes these songs so timeless and memorable. Cooke himself explained it this way: “You just talk the story. That’s how you get people to come to you – because it’s not like a song, it’s like two people rapping, only with a melody attached. But then when you come to the hook (‘That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang’), then you’re free, everybody’s gonna sing that part, you want to get everybody to sing along.” And they’re still singing along.
So we all know the songs. We all know they’re great. But nobody’s known — not unless you were there when it was recorded — just how incredible these recordings actually sound. Now, cut at 45 RPM with every detail tended to and no expense spared, we’ve got the best of The Best of Sam Cooke.
1. You Send Me
2. Only Sixteen
3. Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha
4. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
5. Wonderful World
7. Chain Gang
9. Twistin’ the Night Away
10. Sad Mood
11. Having a Party
12. Bring It on Home to Me
13. Another Saturday Night [Alternate Take]