Sam Cooke packed a double whammmy.
His trailblazing music helped shape the pop and soul genre.
His diverse repertoire – bridged the gap between black and white audiences.
He started off singing – for six years – with a gospel group, the Soul Stirrers, his career taking off like a rocket when he went on his own with huge hits like, You Send Me, Chain Gang, Wonderful World, Twistin the Night Away.
Aside from being a talented performer and songwriter, he was a savvy businessman, establishing his own music publishing company and record label, developing other musical talent.