50s Music

Sam Cooke – You Send Me (1957)

About the song

If you are a fan of soul music, you probably know the song “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke, one of the most influential singers of the 20th century. But do you know the story behind this classic hit? In this blog post, we will explore the history of “You Send Me”, from its origins to its impact on popular culture.

“You Send Me” was written by Sam Cooke’s brother Charles “LC” Cooke, who was also a singer and songwriter. The brothers grew up singing in their family gospel group, The Singing Children, and later joined different gospel quartets. Sam Cooke became the lead singer of the Soul Stirrers, one of the most popular gospel groups of the time. He also started to record secular songs under the name Dale Cook, but his gospel label, Specialty Records, did not approve of his crossover ambitions.

In 1957, Cooke recorded “You Send Me” as a demo with only his guitar accompaniment. He wanted his brother LC to record the song, but he also gave him the writing credit to avoid sharing royalties with his publisher. He brought the song to his producer, Bumps Blackwell, who arranged and conducted a full orchestration with a choir. However, Art Rupe, the owner of Specialty Records, rejected the song because he thought it was too secular and would alienate Cooke’s gospel fans. He offered Cooke a release from his contract in exchange for his outstanding royalties.

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Cooke then signed with Keen Records, a new label founded by brothers John and Alex Siamas. They released “You Send Me” as a single in September 1957, with another song from the same session, a cover of “Summertime”, as the B-side. This was the first single credited to “Sam Cooke” (with an added E to his surname). The song was an instant success, reaching No. 1 on both the Billboard R&B and pop charts. It sold over 2 million copies and established Cooke as a secular superstar. It was also one of the first songs to cross racial barriers and appeal to both black and white audiences.

“You Send Me” is considered one of the 500 most important rock and roll recordings by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and one of the 500 greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. It has been covered by many artists over the years, such as Teresa Brewer, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, The Manhattans, and Rod Stewart. It is also featured in many movies and TV shows, such as American Graffiti, Animal House, Goodfellas, The Sopranos, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

“You Send Me” is a timeless song that showcases Sam Cooke’s smooth voice, soulful delivery, and romantic lyrics. It is a song that can make you feel happy, sad, or nostalgic. It is a song that can send you to another place and time.


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