Today In 1964, Legendary Soul Artist Sam Cooke Died Under Suspicious Circumstances In LA. RIP!

0 Posted by - September 9, 2022 - LATEST POSTS


On December 11, 1964, in response to a reported shooting, officers of the Los Angeles Police Department were dispatched to the Hacienda Motel, where they found Sam Cooke dead on the office floor, shot three times in the chest by the motel’s manager, Bertha Franklin. The authorities ruled Cooke’s death a case of justifiable homicide, based on the testimony of Ms. Franklin, who claimed that Cooke had threatened her life after attempting to rape a young woman with whom he had earlier checked in.

11 Dec 1964, Los Angeles, California, USA --- The body of Sam Cooke, 29-year-old Negro recording star, is removed from the office of a motel here 12/11. According to police, Cooke was shot and killed by the manager of the motel when he kicked in the door of her apartment. Officers said they learned later that Cooke was searching for a female companion who was located later. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Even as the lurid details of the case were becoming common knowledge, some 200,000 fans turned out in the streets of Los Angeles and Chicago to mourn the passing of Sam Cooke, a man whose legacy seemed able to transcend the scandal surrounding his death. That legacy was built during a brief but spectacular run as a singer, songwriter, producer and music publisher in the 1950s and early 1960s.

19 Dec 1964, Los Angeles, California, USA --- Original caption: 12/19/1964-Los Angeles, CA- The casket containing the body of singer Sam Cooke is barely visible in the crowd of people on hand at Mount Sinai Baptist Church to pay their last respects to the popular 33-year-old singer who was shot to death 12/11 by a motel manager when he burst into her office apartment. The crowd overflowed the church and many stood outside in a steady rain during funeral services. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

— Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Born in 1931 to a Baptist minister and his wife, Cooke’s early musical development took place in the church. Like other early figures in what would eventually be called “soul” music, Cooke began his professional career singing gospel. A member of the legendary Soul Stirrers since the age of 19, Cooke was given permission by his record label to begin recording secular music in 1956.

“You Send Me” (1957) was Sam Cooke’s first pop smash, and it was followed by such classics as “Chain Gang” (1960), “Cupid” (1961), “Twistin’ the Night Away” (1962) and the Dylan-inspired posthumous release that became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement: “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964). His voice has been called the most important in the history of soul music, but just as important to Sam Cooke’s historical standing is the fact that he also wrote all of the aforementioned hits—a remarkable fact for any popular singer of his time.

In the years since his death, the circumstances surrounding Cooke’s shooting have been called into question by his family and others. Though the truth of what happened on this day in 1964 might remain uncertain, Sam Cooke’s place in the history of popular music is anything but.

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  • dan hawkins October 5, 2017 - 6:38 am

    Shot 3 times?

  • Walter Lee November 5, 2017 - 11:52 am

    the woman Bertha Franklin shot and killed Sam Cooke moved to Michigan where she later died there and the other one
    Lisa Boyer whom Sam meet and pick up on the day he died is nowhere to be found I heard she was arrested for killing
    another man she ran into hiding somewhere

  • roblox executor June 17, 2019 - 7:27 am

    This is amazing!