Portrait of a Legend: 1951–1964

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Portrait of a Legend: 1951–1964
Portrait of a Legeng.jpg
Compilation album by Sam Cooke
Released June 17, 2003
Recorded March 1, 1951–November 16, 1964
Various recording locations
Length 79:08
Sam Cooke chronology
Keep Movin' On
(2002)Keep Movin' On2002
Portrait of a Legend: 1951–1964
The RCA Albums Collection
(2011)The RCA Albums Collection2011

Portrait of a Legend: 1951–1964 is a compilation album by American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, released posthumously on June 17, 2003 by ABKCO Records. The disc covers Cooke's entire career, from his early 1950s beginnings with the Soul Stirrers to the posthumous 1964 single "Shake". The collection includes most of the singer's hit singles, including "You Send Me", "Wonderful World", "Chain Gang", "Cupid", "Twistin' the Night Away", "Bring It on Home to Me", "Another Saturday Night", "Little Red Rooster", "Ain't That Good News", "Good Times", and what is often regarded as the singer's magnum opus, "A Change Is Gonna Come".

The compilation is generally considered the most complete and comprehensive collection of Cooke's work. It has been included on various "best-of" lists by music publications, including Rolling Stone and Time.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
BBC Online Favorable[2]

Biographer Peter Guralnick, author of Cooke's biography Dream Boogie and the liner notes for the disc, writes: "For an overview of Sam's career, from his gospel beginnings through "A Change Is Gonna Come," nothing can compare to Portrait of a Legend which serves as a guide to Sam at his very best."[3] The BBC's Alwyn Turner writes, "With perfect sound quality, and with sleeve-notes by Peter Guralnick, this is the best single-volume introduction to his work available."[2] Bruce Eder of Allmusic considered it an improvement on the 1986 compilation The Man and His Music in terms of running time and audio quality; he did, however, lament the lack of inclusion of "'That's Heaven to Me' and 'Soothe Me', arguably one of Cooke's most important songs."[1]

It is Cooke's highest placing position on Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time, at number 107.[4] In 2010, Time included the compilation on their list of the All-TIME 100 Albums, covering "the 100 greatest and most influential musical compilations since 1954." In the article, Alan Light writes, "The 31 tracks on Portrait of a Legend impressively capture Cooke’s range on a single disc […] Many artists are called "legends," but Sam Cooke truly earned this title."[5]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Sam Cooke, except where noted.

No. Title Writer Length
1. "Touch the Hem of His Garment"   2:01
2. "Lovable"
  • Cooke
  • Tony Harris
3. "You Send Me"
  • Cooke
  • L.C. Cook
4. "Only Sixteen"   2:02
5. "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" 2:38
6. "Just for You"   2:19
7. "Win Your Love for Me"   2:46
8. "Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha"   2:45
9. "I'll Come Running Back to You"
  • Cooke
  • Bill Cook
10. "You Were Made for Me"   2:53
11. "Sad Mood"   2:39
12. "Cupid"   2:36
13. "(What a) Wonderful World" 2:05
14. "Chain Gang"   2:34
15. "Summertime" 2:20
16. "Little Red Rooster" Willie Dixon 2:52
17. "Bring It on Home to Me"   2:42
18. "Nothing Can Change This Love"   2:37
19. "Sugar Dumpling"   2:43
20. "(Ain't That) Good News"   2:28
21. "Meet Me at Mary's Place"   2:41
22. "Twistin' the Night Away"   2:41
23. "Shake"   2:50
24. "Tennessee Waltz" 3:09
25. "Another Saturday Night"   2:40
26. "Good Times"   2:27
27. "Having a Party"   2:35
28. "That's Where It's At" 2:35
29. "A Change Is Gonna Come"   3:11
30. "Jesus Gave Me Water" Lucie Campbell 2:29
Total length: 79:08

There is an additional track containing a segment of an interview by Magnificent Montague from 1963 in which Sam Cooke hums a few bars.


All credits adapted from the disc's liner notes.[6]


Chart (2003) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[7] 19
Chart (2006–07) Peak
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[8] 3
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[9] 3
Chart (2012) Peak
US Billboard 200[10] 135
US Top Catalog Albums (Billboard)[11] 20


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[12] Platinum 300,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Bruce Eder. "Review: Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964". Allmusic. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Alwyn Turner (2006). "BBC -Music - Review of Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964". BBC. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ Guralnick, Peter (2005). Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. New York: Back Bay Books, p. 715. First edition, 2005.
  4. ^ Wenner, Jann S., ed. (2012). Rolling Stone - Special Collectors Issue - The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. USA: Wenner Media Specials. ISBN 978-7098934196
  5. ^ "All-TIME 100 Albums". Time. New York City: Time Inc. January 22, 2010. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  6. ^ Portrait of a Legend: 1951–1964 (liner notes). Sam Cooke. US: ABKCO Records. 2003. 92642. 
  7. ^ "Sam Cooke | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  8. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Sam Cooke – Portrait of a Legend - 1951-1964". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  9. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Sam Cooke – Portrait of a Legend - 1951-1964". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  10. ^ "Sam Cooke – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Sam Cooke. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  11. ^ "Sam Cooke – Chart history" Billboard Top Catalog Albums for Sam Cooke. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  12. ^ "British album certifications – Sam Cooke – Portrait of a Legend". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Portrait of a Legend in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]