Sam Cooke

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Sam Cooke Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

P&P is not included in the above prices.


Sam Cooke was grounded in a very straightforward singing style: It was pure, beautiful and open-throated, extraordinarily direct, unapologetic and based on a self confidence that only pure pitching can bring.

He had fabulous chops, exquisite taste and was one of the most astute business like artists to grace the industry. In 1959, he formed his own independent label, SAR Records, a platform from which he could showcase artists he admired and the sounds he cherished.

In March, 1963, Sam met and hired Allen Klein as his Business Manager for his music publishing company, and within two months, Cooke’s RCA contract had been renegotiated to provide him with both an improved royalty rate and his own label Tracey Records Ltd, named after his youngest daughter. As an African-American artist in a white executive world, he now had the prestige that Dr martin Luther King could only dream about in the political arena.

He was in effect, the man who had it all, fame, talent, wealth, and artistic independence and of course, women figured prominently in his private life, integral to the only critical misjudgements he ever made. Tragically, one night of pointless dalliance in December 1964 would cost him his life.

Recommended listening

Night Beat (1963)

There is almost an inevitability to every major artist’s career that their recorded legacy will include one overlooked minor classic, a critically appreciated slice of work upon initial release, but ultimately consigned to obscurity by the sheer widespread appeal and familiarity of more popular, and sometimes lesser works. ‘Night Beat’ is Cooke’s ‘Close to you’, the much regarded but sadly neglected entry in Sinatra’s Capitol oevre.

Comprised of carefully selected standards, ‘Night Beat’ is an organic record, commencing as it does in the very bowels of Cooke’s soul; a stoic, dimly lit expression of woe in which the singer reflects on life’s difficulties, intimately conversing with the listener in the early hours from a favourite chair at the end of a long, trying day.

On “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen“ and “Lost and Lookin’”, the King of Soul is an inconsolable vagabond, but there’s a steely resolve to “Get Yourself Another Fool”, the song that signifies a change in Cooke’s woebegone psyche. He’s weatherbeaten but still alive and kicking, floating his bittersweet vocals willfully over the gospel-smacked organ styling of the teenaged Billy Preston, the child prodigy who would later record with The Beatles, Stones and Ray Charles.


Sam Cooke Fan Club

An excellent overview of Cooke’s professional career with some interesting interviews, full listings of his television appearances, vinyl releases, posthumous CD’s and DVD’s and several links.

Last updated in 2010, a considerable amount of endeavour is undermined by the paucity of photographs; a rather obvious addition that would greatly enhance the site’s attractiveness.