Talk:Sam Cooke

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Full name[edit]

Does anybody know his full name or even if that is his birth name? JoanB

His last name was Cook, like his father's, without the later added "e". I'm don't know of any middle name. Hammer 19:27, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The Pop Chronicles says that his name was Sam Dale Cooke[1] in an interview with Bumps Blackwell. DougHill (talk) 00:06, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

German translation[edit]

German translation is complete, so leave a note at de:Diskussion:Sam Cooke if you change the English article. -- TomK32 14:31, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Date of birth[edit]

There seem to be confusion about Cooke's date of birth. Various sources on the internet claim it's either 1930, 1931 or 1935. This website has a photo of Cooke's gravestone with the year 1930 on it. Thuresson 12:27, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

That stone appears to be some kind of commemorative stone with the wrong date, not a gravestone. Tcassedy 19:46, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Why should it not be his gravestone? Is there any proof of that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Karbuncle (talkcontribs) 17:26, 2 January 2010 (UTC)


Anyone know when he was really active? I'm just going by the year he released his first single, and the year of his death. Evan Reyes 22:23, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

This page says he graduated from high school in 1948. This isn't proof he was born in '30, but it may point in that direction. Most sources do state '31 however.--98.216.10.207 (talk) 19:58, 2 December 2009 (UTC) http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/celebrity/sam_cooke/5.html

His death certificate states that he was born in 1932 http://findadeath.com/Deceased/c/Sam%20Cooke/dc.jpg and so does even California Death Index 1940-1997 according to Ancestry.com. However Social Security Death Index states that he was born in 1931. I don't know which one that is the most trusted of those two. Also, California Death Index and Social Security Death Index gives different social security numbers for him. Karbuncle (talk) 15:47, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Where did the information in this article come from?[edit]

There are no reference footnotes. Part of the article seems to be quoting someone's point of view. Whose material is this? Editors of this article need to read WP:V and WP:CITE. Thanks! Mattisse(talk) 22:26, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, seems to have a lot of NPOV problems! --Center4499 02:32, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
This is why music articles aren't well suited to Wikipedia. Reads like a well written article to me; the sort that would fit perfectly into the Guiness Enyclopedia of Popular Music say. Unfortunately, colourful well written articles aren't considered NPOV in the popularly (mis)understood sense of the word here (neutered and boring)...
That said, it certainly needs citations. --kingboyk 12:04, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Why so much about the death?[edit]

The article devotes many more words about Cooke's death than it does about his life and accomplishments. That seems very odd and imbalanced -- his life was certainly more notable than the circumstances of his death. Shouldn't the bio section be expanded, and/or the "death" controvery be reduced down to a paragraph or two? Vandelay 13:21, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

What we don't need is a reference to his penis. If he had no underwear or pants his penis would be exposed. The reference is therefore unnecessary, and could be read as implying an erect penis.124.197.15.138 (talk) 06:53, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

The circumstances of his death are fairly clear. There are conspiracy theories. These should however be in a separate section, as they are pretty clearly speculation and inconsistent with known facts or the likely events.203.184.41.226 (talk) 07:54, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Need more about his life...but NOT less about his tragic death[edit]

Sam was a great talent...truly sad that his life was cut so short. I agree that the women involved in his killing definitely sound extremely shady. To me, it's obvious that he was at least robbed by the dumb hooker. Not sure it involved an actual murder conspiracy or not...probably will never know.Tom70.119.219.0 16:09, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The death is notable and deserves the sort of attention it is getting, but more about Cooke's life would be great.--Timtak (talk) 16:24, 21 September 2008 (UTC)


  • Etta James account of how Sam appeared at the funeral home doesn't seem very consistent with the crime scene photos and the photo from his funeral. Many people look significantly different in death (especially after being worked on by a mortician), but it doesn't look like Sam was "nearly decapitated" in the crime scene or funeral photos:

http://www.morticom.com/famousdeathsmusiciansphoto004.jpg http://www.morticom.com/famousdeathsmusiciansphoto004b.jpg JSDA (talk) 22:45, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Copyright[edit]

I think You Send Me is going to be in the public domain in the UK in october. Shame we can't add it to wikipedia, as US copyright law is 95 years + 70, instead of 50. Supposed 03:59, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Tupac Discontinuity?[edit]

It says that Sam had managed to publish a record post-mortem, entitled "Shake." Had he already recorded this and it had not been finished ny the time he died in '64? ~white.matthew.09 (forgot to sign in) 209.137.182.35 10:35, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Citations & References[edit]

See Wikipedia:Footnotes for an explanation of how to generate footnotes using the <ref(erences/)> tags Nhl4hamilton (talk) 04:28, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Peacock Terms[edit]

Just wondered whether anybody agreed with me in that the lead might contain peacock terms, in that statements such as 'his impact on soul music is undeniable' shouldn't be used, especially in the lead. I'm not saying he wasn't great, just that in keeping with the theme of an encyclopedia, you should show that he's a legend by saying what he's achieved, without saying directly that he was great. Rudy 16:46, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Chop, chop[edit]

I'm not sure if the POV issue that has been raised here before is still an issue, but when I first saw the article, quite a bit of it seemed biased IMHO. As groovy as Sam is, I don't think it needs to be mentioned in every other sentence. I also understand that his death is pretty controversial, but it needs to be presented in a neutral and encyclopedic manner. That being said, I made some bold edits and reworded/reworked some of the article. I also replaced the references used, more specifically, the ourunclesam.com refs. I have no idea who added them, but they didn't indicate where the information was located in the book (ie page numbers) if that's what the references were suppose to represent. There's still quite a bit that needs to be done on the article, mainly additional references and more on Cooke's life, so if anyone has a problem-o about my edits, let me know. Pinkadelica 07:19, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Soul Stirrers[edit]

I'm a little puzzled as to why the period Sam Cooke spent singing Gospel, prior to his pop success, isn't mentioned at all?--ReTracer (talk) 08:01, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

There's mention of it in the "Early life" section. If you think that area needs expanded, feel free to do so. Pinkadelica Say it... 08:21, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Free Images[edit]

I have just begun looking for "free images" for musicians' pages that have had to rely entirely on "fair use" photos in the past month or two. I've been uploading photographs for musicians' biography articles for the past few years --my area of interest on the en.Wikipedia, es.Wikipedia, pt.Wikipedia, etc. (as well as editing articles, of course), however, until two months ago it had not occured to me to look for free photos in addition to my normal reasons (updating photos, replacing bad ones, adding additional ones for musicians with long careers, as with Mick Taylor, and providing photos for articles who had no photo at all). Having some success with a handful of artists, (John Paul Jones, John Bonham, etc.) I hope to find one of Cooke, since he died in the 1960s, though I admit it is a long shot. While "nesting" several groups interested in an artist is good, can someone remind me how to place a "request photograph" template below the nested group, so it is visable immediately without need for clicking the various groups? It is not just for this article but for other pages missing photos altogether. I have forgotten it, outside of the biography listas parameter. Oh, and if anyone would like me to search for free images for any musicians (and some other photographs, as well), please leave a note for both things on my talk page. I could not possibly keep all these talk pages on my watch list! Thank you.--Leahtwosaints (talk) 14:49, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Why the race of Mr Cooke's murderer is important.[edit]

It's important because given the climate of the mid 1960's, many people assume he was shot by a white woman and subsequently blamed for his own death because he was black and she white - a very common occurrence before the civil rights movement.

It's amazing that I held this assumption myself for decades, even discussing this matter with several other people who were also misinformed. We remarked on the travesty that the man who sang an anthem for the Civil Rights movement was gunned down in what was likely a racially-motivated homicide.

I finally stumbled on the fact that he was shot by an African-American and quickly checked the Wikipedia article. I was stunned to find that it was missing this crucial and relevant information. One can speculate on the reasons why it wasn't included before I added it (with citation) and why it was removed within hours after I added it. However, a desire to perpetuate the misconception of a racially motivated killing while hiding the irony that the man who sang one of the most important songs of the Civil Rights movement was gunned down by one of his own certainly comes to mind.

Wikipedia is all about access to correct information. Deletion of a properly cited edit on the basis that you do not want readers to know that fact are not in the spirit of Wikipedia. If you believe it is irrelevant, please discuss it here and the results of this discussion can steer the content of the article without unilateral deletion of content. In the mean time, I will revert its deletion.--Bodybagger (talk) 05:00, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Truth be told, I was going to remove the content myself when you added but Faithlessthewonderboy beat me to it and rightfully so. The race of the shooter is not notable and the fact that you claim it's a common misconception that people think Cooke's shooter was white is baseless without a reliable source to back it up. Further, adding content back that another editor has a problem with and then proceeding to the talk page to state your case is bad practice. Stating that you intent to edit war simply because you want the content in isn't exactly kosher either. If you want the content back in because you believe it is paramount the article, I suggest you find some reliable source that states the race of the shooter is of particular note because people often assume Cooke's shooter is white. Until you can provide that, the content needs to stay out. Pinkadelica 06:52, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
First, let me say that the authenticity of this fact is undisputed. Second, let me point out that I didn't say I was going to start an edit war. I said that I would undo a unilateral action and start a discussion to reach a consensus. Third, I did not make the claim that it is a "common misconception" in the article itself. I made that claim in an edit summary. I've very rarely seen an edit summary cite any source. There is no policy that I am aware of requiring editors to cite reliable sources for notability in addition to authenticity. If there were, the vast majority of Wikipedia would qualify for speedy deletion. Notability is like beauty: it is in the eye of the beholder - but only if they can see it in the first place. Let us assume you are right. This is NOT a common misconception and is not a notable fact. Then, inclusion is simply redundant and causes negligible harm. If however, it is a common misconception, then removing it serves to perpetuate a myth and its harm. If you think the shooter's race is irrelevant, let me quote W.E.B. Du Bois:

About seventy per cent of all prisoners in the South are black; this, however, is in part explained by the fact that accused Negroes are still easily convicted and get long sentences, while whites still continue to escape the penalty of many crimes even among themselves.

So regarding the man that gave us the anthem for the Civil Rights Movement, the question is not "is the shooter's race relevant," the question is "how could it possibly not be relevant?" In closing, I would like to point out that Wikipedians can be broadly grouped into two categories: inclusionists and deletionists. I am an inclusionist because if we delete facts today, one day we will be deleting people.--Bodybagger (talk) 04:32, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Again, do you have a reliable source that states the race of Cooke's shooter is notable or, at the very least, that most people mistakenly think his shooter was white? If you don't, I don't think we have anything further to discuss because, frankly, I find all this rhetoric a wee bit too dramatic for my liking. I mean, seriously, deletionism = Nazism? Sheesh. Pinkadelica 04:50, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Oh, and this kind of edit is uncalled for hence my removal. No one owns any article and you cannot demand that no one remove the content simply because you don't want it removed. That's not collegial in any way, shape or form. Pinkadelica 04:54, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

This entire argument is absurd. Bodybagger, your argument is confusing and some of your statements are just plain off-putting (I hope you can appreciate the irony of threatening to revert anyone who edits unilaterally). I will address your points one-by-one:

  • many people assume he was shot by a white woman Where does this come from? Do you have any proof whatsoever that "many people assume he was shot by a white woman" or is this just your opinion?
  • a very common occurrence before the civil rights movement Perhaps I misunderstand, but are you asserting that before the Civil Rights Movement it was commonplace for white women to go around murdering black men? That's news to me.
  • It's amazing that I held this assumption myself for decades That you and your friends made an incorrect assumption is hardly a compelling argument.
  • this crucial and relevant information Relevant, perhaps. But crucial? In what way is it crucial? Would you suggest that we stress Mark David Chapman's ethnicity in John Lennon's article?
  • One can speculate on the reasons why it wasn't included before I added it (with citation) and why it was removed within hours after I added it. However, a desire to perpetuate the misconception of a racially motivated killing while hiding the irony that the man who sang one of the most important songs of the Civil Rights movement was gunned down by one of his own certainly comes to mind. This reeks of a personal attack directed toward me. I won't deign to respond to it, other than to suggest you review this guideline.
  • gunned down by one of his own Seriously? This kind of language just gives off a creepy vibe. Why are you obsessed with race? We're all people.

No one is questioning the veracity of the information, but rather its importance. I don't think it's relevant in any way, shape, or form. Neither does Pinkadelica. Neither, evidently, have the thousands of people who have viewed and/or edited this article over the years, since it has never been inserted before (to the best of my knowledge). faithless (speak) 01:15, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Concur with Faithless. I've been working and watching this article for nearly two years and this is the first time anyone has ever brought this up which would indicate that it's not a common misconception and readers aren't sorely missing out on this tidbit. If the reliable sources I aksed for aren't forthcoming, I'll remove the content in the next few days as it appears at least two people agree the content is unneeded. If Bodybagger wants to further debate this, I suggest opening an RfC to get a wider community input. Adding the content back again in an effort to POV push again is not recommended however. Pinkadelica 04:01, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

I'll just weigh in to vote that I personally think it's relevant, if only as a question that people would like to have answered, and I'd rather see Wikipedia err on the side of giving information rather than withholding it. The race of the shooter means everything to how such an event from 1964 is going to be interpreted. Also, I have personally run across theories online that Cooke's death was racially motivated, along with a great deal of other misinformation. Although I can't document unreliable conspiracy theories in print, as would seem to be the demand here, a vote to suppress information about the shooter would seem to me to be a vote to keep this question alive rather than simply answer it. Just one person's opinion, respectfully submitted.

John Lennon and his killer are not really a good comparison, because Lennon was not closely identified with the Civil Rights movement, as Cooke is due to his classic song "A Change Is Gonna Come".

Perhaps the answer is simply to include news pictures of the two women involved in Cooke's death. They're out there. Also, perhaps Cooke's death was enough of an event to rate a main article, which could then be more expansive in nature.

Lastly, regardless of the legal parsing of murder, libel, homicide, etc., I also think it's somewhat misleading and unfair to refer to someone who shoots in self-defense a man who broke down a door to get to her and assaulted her several times, and was then cleared of wrongdoing, as a murderer. That carries a much different shade of meaning for most people, myself included, regardless of what the law books say. "Shooter" seems like the more appropriate term to me. But it's only a talk page. Joe Suggs (talk) 05:59, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I believe this discussion got off to a wrong start. The "edit wars" were bad, and as Joe Suggs stated, Franklin should not be described as a "murderer." At the same time, I fail to see what it would hurt to describe Franklin as a "55 year old African American" in that section. This is a fact and would give readers a more accurate picture of who Cooke allegedly struggled with that night. She was old and heavyset, while Cooke was a man and much younger. Are there any sources saying this is not notable? I didn't see the original edits made, but perhaps they were in poor taste. Gunned down by one of his own surely is an unnecessary thing to say. The race and age are minor factual details that arguably do not hurt the article. Any thoughts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.216.14.212 (talk) 04:41, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Why is this section using the word murderer? That is hardly NPOV! Incidentally, I always thought that the gunwoman was white - I am sure I read this somewhere - it was not an assumption203.184.41.226 (talk) 08:18, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

basis for his listing as a murdered entertainer?[edit]

given wiki's aspirations of neutrality, why is he listed as a murdered entertainer? who murdered him? his killer was ruled to have committed a justified homicide. very very sloppy and slanderous. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.253.24.229 (talk) 06:34, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

I suspect you're not terribly interested in improving the article and just want to complain, but I'll explain this to you anyway. One, only living people can be slandered and slander is spoken, not written. I'm assuming you meant that categorizing Cooke's murder is libelous, but even that doesn't apply so there's nothing "sloppy" or "slanderous" going on here. Two, justifiable homicide is still murder as the act of homicide in and of itself is considered murder (ie the act of a human killing a human being). The only difference being is that there was justification for the murder. Now, if you'd like to really talk about sloppy and libelous, this talk page comment from the very same IP would apply. Ah, irony. Pinkadelica 08:46, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Pinkadelica, your definition of "murder" is not accurate in legal nor lay terms. See the wiki entry on the subject. Your statements on slander are also questionable. However, I agree that using the term "slander" in this situation is not accurate. Saying that Cooke was murdered is POV. Some people believe he was murdered and there is a chance he was, but this is not established fact. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.216.14.212 (talk) 03:28, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

wikipedia does not report on what "some" people believe. It reports on what can be verified by reliable source. Until you can provide a reliable source that definitively contradicts the official (note that word....official) verdict, all this back and forth is useless. 24.72.176.240 (talk)

African-American[edit]

He is simply American. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.59.126.203 (talk) 08:44, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

oh please — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.72.176.240 (talk) 07:48, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Barbara Cooke[edit]

Barbara Cooke is given short thrift in this article ... it seems she was very young when she married Sam Cooke ... maybe about 19 or so ... also read Midnight Mover by Bobby Womack, Robert Ashton

--- — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.8.24.67 (talk) 07:34, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion. When you believe an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top.
The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). --Elonka 14:18, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Death date?[edit]

hello,

according to the Jet magazine, Sam Cooke died exactly the same date Otis Redding did, namely on December 10, see [2], page 60. So, where is the source stating he died a day later? This should be resolved. Regards.--♫GoP♫TCN 12:13, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

There wasn't a source for the date of death because, as long as I have been watching this article (about two years now), no one has challenged Cooke's date of death. The only time we need to provide a cite for a DOB or DOD is if there are major discrepancies of sources. As far as I'm aware, this isn't the case with Cooke. Most sources clearly state that Cooke died in the early morning hours of December 11, not December 10. I think the source you're using to support the December 10 dating is incorrect as another Jet magazine article states the shooting (and subsequent death of Cooke) happened in the early morning hours of December 11.

Additional sources also support December 11 as being Cooke's DOD:

All those sources, coupled with Cooke's death certificate lead me to believe the original date of death that was listed in the article, December 11, 1964, was indeed correct. I think the content should be changed back. Pinkadelica 22:56, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

OK then. Some sources say he was killed 1:30, some 3:00, so it is not clear. Maybe he died just minutes before December 11. --♫GoP♫TCN 10:16, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Even if he died at 1am, that would still be December 11. His death certificate along with various articles state he died at around 3am on December 11. I would venture a guess that 3am is likely correct. Regardless, thank you for restoring the original date of death. Pinkadelica 18:22, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Injuries[edit]

One of the few "facts" that would suggest that Sam Cooke's death was not as simple as it appears is Etta James' claim that Cooke had been badly beaten, in particular that he had been almost decapitated, and that his nose had been smashed. I am not sure how much damage Mrs Franklin's broom could cause. But doesn't the autopsy report lay resolve this matter? The police scene photos do not show a body with a smashed nose, and there appears no neck wound. Was Etta in town then, and if she had been would a young woman like her have been allowed into a morgue?203.184.41.226 (talk) 08:34, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

That is interesting... I guess that would bring to fact that some of Etta James' stories are exaggerated. BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 16:26, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

posthumusly[edit]

Article current has the text

Posthumously releases of Cooke recordings followed, many of which became hits, including "A Change Is Gonna Come", an early protest song that is generally regarded as his greatest composition.[1]

This should probably be rewritten. A Change is Gonna Come was on Ain't_That_Good_News_(album), so was not released posthumusly, although the single did come out after his death. I tried my hand, but nothing I wrote sounded right. Gaijin42 (talk) 16:38, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).