1931 – Sam Cooke was born in Chicago, Illinois on the 22nd of January, one of eight children. His father, Charles Cooke, was a Baptist minister and it was in his church that Cooke sang in a group called the "Highway Q.C."
1951 – At age 20, Cooke replaced R.H. Harris as lead singer for the Soul Stirrers, a popular gospel group. He stayed with the group for six years and traveled back and forth across the country.
1957 – His first single, "You Send Me", released, sold over a million copies. Sam’s older brother, L.C. Cooke, was the composer, Keen, a new label, was the recipient, Bumps Blackwell was the producer of the group, and J.W.
1959 – He married his high school girlfriend, Barbara Campbell, in Los Angeles and they had three children.
1960 – Became the first major black singer to sign a recording deal with RCA Records. His second release was "Chain Gang" which hit the top 40.
1964 – Died on the 11th of December under mysterious circumstances and was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.