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"
"Only Sixteen"

"Only Sixteen" is a song by American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, released in May 1959. The song was a top 15 hit on Billboard's Hot R&B Sides chart, and also charted within the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.


"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, and Dr. Hook covered it in 1975.


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


  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]