The basic facts of Sam Cookes life are by now pretty well known. His father was a preacher at the First Baptist Church in Chicago Heights, and by the age of 17 Cooke became the lead singer for one of gospels greatest groups, the Soul Stirrers. Seeking a larger audience, he left the world of gospel music to become one of the worlds biggest pop stars. The road was anything but smooth. He escaped a terrible car accident while on tour in 1958 with minor injuries, while bandmate Lou Rawls was badly hurt, and his chauffeur was killed. His ex-wife was killed in another accident while driving a car that Cooke had given her. His 18 month-old son Vincent died when he fell into the familys swimming pool.
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