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Sam Cooke, commonly known as the King of Soul, was an African-American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer and songwriter. He had 29 top-40 hits from 1957-1964.
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He reportedly clashed with the motel's manager, and the manager shot Cooke. Cooke died from his injury, which the manager claimed was inflicted in self-defense. It was later ruled justifiable homicide.
Thousands turned out to mourn the legendary singer. Ray Charles and Lou Rawls sang at his funeral in Los Angeles, and another service was held in his former hometown, Chicago. The year after his death,
Cooke's record company released his song "A Change Is Gonna Come." He wrote this civil rights anthem in response to Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind." It was perhaps his most pointedly political song.
No matter the circumstances of his passing, Cooke left behind a tremendous musical legacy. It only takes a listen to recordings of his live shows, such as his 1963 performance at Miami's Harlem Square Club, to recognize his contributions to soul music. And as a pop icon, Cooke has endured through his songs. Otis Redding and Al Green are among the artists who have covered his work. He was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 1986.
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