There’s probably no better singing voice on planet earth than Sam Cooke’s. Sure, it’s debatable. There’s Aretha, Sinatra, and any number of others you could stack up against Cooke, and maybe they’ll compare and even be equal. But there is no better.
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Cooke, who was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1931, died in 1964 at just 33 years old. He was a Civil Rights activist and many question the circumstances around his passing, shot down by a hotel manager. Cooke was a friend of Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Malcolm X, and a top draw in his time.
Here, we celebrate Cooke’s best recordings. Normally, we’d keep them to 10 songs but in this case, our subject is so stellar he deserves an extra 50 percent. And while these songs are listed in descending numerical order, there really is no way to quantify them properly.