He was the golden child of a stern black preacher, grew up singing gospel with the sweetest voice anyone had ever heard and died chasing a hooker from a three dollar motel room in South Central LA.
In between, Sam Cooke conquered the American jukebox of the civil rights era with a gusher of songs that made white kids dance and black kids dream they could grab a piece of the dream.
In You Send Me and Wonderful World and Cupid and Chain Gang, Sam Cooke brought the honey and drive and ecstasy of gospel to the top of the pop charts. In Change is Gonna Come, he reminded a racially-divided nation that change had not yet come.
Hear a conversation with biographer Peter Guralnick about the story and music of Sam Cooke.
Peter Guralnick, author of "Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke"
This program aired on November 11, 2005.