Nashville singer-songwriter Doug Hoekstra, on his 1999 release Make Me Believe, said “Sam Cooke Sang the Gospel.” How right he was on so many levels.
Cooke put the spirit of the black church into popular music, creating a new American sound and a popular gospel of love with songs “Good News,” “Wonderful World,” “You Send Me,” “Change Is Gonna Come,” “Cupid” and more. American Masters profiles the silky-voiced and handsome Cooke, a forefather to Otis Redding, Motown and Aretha Franklin, with SAM COOKE: CROSSING OVER on Monday, January 11 at 8:00 p.m. on NPT and PBS stations nationwide.
The documentary, directed by John Antonelli, features interviews with Muhammad Ali, Lou Adler, Herb Albert, James Brown, Jimmy Carter, Mel Carter, Dick Clark, Sam Moore, Earl Palmer, Billy Preston, Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, Jerry Wexler, Bobby Womack and more.
Nashville writer Peter Guralnick (Last Train to Memphis), brought his definitive biography of Cooke: Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, to our own A Word on Words with John Seigenthaler in 2008. To prep yourself for the documentary, or learn more after, download the entire .mp3 of the interview here or on the A Word on Words site at wnpt.net/wow.