Only Sixteen

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"Only Sixteen"
Single by Sam Cooke
B-side "Let's Go Steady Again"
Released May 1959
Format 7"
Recorded January 4, 1959
Rex Productions
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre Rhythm and blues, soul
Length 2:00
Label Keen
Writer(s) Sam Cooke
Producer(s) Bumps Blackwell
Sam Cooke singles chronology
"Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha"
(1959)
"Only Sixteen"
(1959)
"Summertime"
(1959)

"Only Sixteen" is a song whose origin is still in dispute. singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, recorded it in the U.S. in May 1959 but the British singer Al Saxon had also been singing the song in England at the same time - possibly before Sam Cooke. Al Saxon had previously released an earlier version of a similar song "When You Were Sweet Sixteen" in the 1940s, by Al Saxon and His Big Band of the 40s. Nonetheless, Only Sixteen was a top 15 hit for Cooke on Billboard '​s Hot R&B Sides chart, and also charted within the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Background[edit]

Sam Cooke claimed that "Only Sixteen" was inspired by the sixteenth birthday of Lou Rawls' stepsister, Eunice.[1] The song was originally intended for actor Steve Rowland, who often hung around the Keen studio. Rowland asked Cooke to write a song for him, and Cooke borrowed the bridge from an earlier song of his, "Little Things You Do". Rowland's manager disliked the song, and Cooke re-recorded it for himself.[1][2]

Craig Douglas covered the song, also in 1959. The Supremes covered it on their 1965 album We Remember Sam Cooke, and Dr. Hook covered it in 1976.

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes to the 2003 compilation Portrait of a Legend: 1951–1964.[1]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1959) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[3] 23
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 28
US Hot R&B Sides (Billboard)[4] 13

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Portrait of a Legend: 1951–1964 (liner notes). Sam Cooke. US: ABKCO Records. 2003. 92642. 
  2. ^ Guralnick, Peter (2005). Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. New York: Back Bay Books, p. 280-81. First edition, 2005.
  3. ^ "Sam Cooke - Artist - Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Sam Cooke – Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]