Like a thousand other great R&B stars, SAM COOKE (1931-64) was originally a gospel singer, starting with the Soul Stirrers. Within a few years he had his own record label & publishing company. His musical flame burned bright, tragic and short. In 1958 he and Lou Rawls were hospitalized in a serious car accident. In 1959 his wife was killed in a car accident. Summer of 1963 his youngest child drowned in his swimming pool. In 1964 the female manager of a fleabag hotel shot him 3 times and beat him to death with a club. A sad 6-year stretch for one of the creamiest voices in history.