Classics: Sam Cooke – Twistin’ The Night Away (RCA)
Oooh yes, we’re goin’ way back in the day. Most likely bringin’ us back to the atmosphere of seminal US TV series, ‘Happy Days’. And, in the meantime, instantly under the spell of the swingin’ ‘Twistin’ The Night Away’.
Among his signature songs along with ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ and ‘Wonderful World’, the swingin’ ‘Twistin’ The Night Away’ most definitely saw him rockin’ his ass off back in 1962. This under the direction of Rene Hall with production work by the likes of Hugo & Luigi.
Rockin’… You’ve read it and we used the expression on purpose with the lines being so thin between the genres back then. With ‘Twistin’ The Night Away’ at the crossroad between Soul and Rock & Roll if not Rockabilly. This showin’ the influence of Sam Cooke and other Little Richard way beyond their respective scenes.
‘Twistin’ The Night Away’ is a definitive invitation to dance. In the vein of seminal gems such as Little Richard‘s ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ or Bill Haley‘s ‘Rip It Up’. If not Louis Prima‘s ‘Buona Sera’ for instance…
Sam Cooke is of those rare figures speaking of whom the souvenir has remained alive along with time. Belonging to a list where are to be found Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix or Amy Winehouse more recently. If not 60’s actor James Dean or Formula 1 Brazilian pilot Ayrton Senna among others. As many faces which a tragical destiny prevented from delivering the entirety of their talent.
A native of Clarksdale, MS Sam Cooke established himself as one of the most influential artists in the history of Soul. People commonly seeing him as the King of the genre, although he used to consider the late Otis Redding as. As a result, no wonder why nor how his pioneering contributions to Soul Music sort of opened the path to countless luminaries that were to soon after follow. From Al Green to Bobby Womack. But also Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Solomon Burke to name a few.
He scored no less than 30 top 40 hits Stateside from 1957 until 1964. Thus focusing, like most of his contemporaries back then, on singles. ‘You Send Me’ which marked his debut, pretty much opened the series. With extra gems such as ‘Twistin’ The Night Away’, ‘Beautiful World’ and ‘Cupid’ completing the list. These in addition to ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’, ‘Chain Gang’ and ‘Another Saturday Night’. If not ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ with long time friend Lou Rawls on backing vocals.
Last but not least, the man also managed to be a visionary by the time being. This while launching both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his activities.
Cooke released a total of 14 albums. With the latest to date – ‘Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963 – back in 1985 after RCA kept it on hold for some (extra) reasons.
On Dec. 11, 1964, Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Los Angeles Hacienda Hotel, fatally gunned a 33 years old Sam Cooke.
The courts concluded his death to be a justifiable homicide. Although leavin’ his family and friends in prey of serious doubts since…
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