Tag Archives: Cat Stevens

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (7-21-20)

Inspired by the July 21 birthdays of Cat Stevens, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Damian Marley, Taco and Fitz and the Tantrums’ Michael Fitzpatrick.

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Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World

Winston + Sam Cooke

I started getting into Sam Cooke in 1978. That year, Art Garfunkel had a hit with his version of “Wonderful World,” while Sam Cooke’s original version appeared on the soundtrack to the movie National Lampoon’s Animal House. I was familiar with Cat Stevens’ hit version of “Another Saturday Night” and Dr. Hook’s hit version of “Only Sixteen.” I bought Sam Cooke’s Greatest Hits to hear the original versions of these songs.

Starting his career by singing gospel music, Cooke moved into the secular market in 1956. The Soul Stirrers, the gospel group for which Cooke was singing lead, were signed to Specialty Records. The label’s head, Art Rupe, didn’t like the secular music Cooke was recording, so in 1957 Cooke left for Keen Records, where his first single was the classic “You Send Me.” It went to #1 on the pop and r&b charts. Cashing in on this success, Specialty released a single of one of the Cooke recordings they had in their vault, “I’ll Come Running Back to You.” It also went to #1 on the r&b chart and went top 20 pop.

In 1960 Cooke moved to RCA Records. As Specialty did before them, Keen looked through their vaults to find a Cooke recording to release as a single. They found “Wonderful World.” Like many of his hits, Cooke wrote the song, this one with Lou Adler and Herb Alpert. The composition initially was credited to Barbara Campbell, Cooke’s fiancée, as Cooke was engaged in a dispute with Art Rupe about publishing royalties.

The song wasn’t recorded to be a single. It was done at an impromptu session. Cooke’s regular drummer wasn’t there, so he recruited the sixteen year-old nephew of one of the other musicians to play on the track. Lou Rawls was in the studio with Sam, singing the last word of each line with Cooke in the same mic.

“Wonderful World” became another hit for Cooke on the pop and r&b charts. In all, he had 29 top 40 pop hits and 34 top 40 r&b hits. In addition to singing and writing hit songs, he started SAR Records in 1960, producing recordings for Billy Preston, Bobby Womack and Johnny Taylor, in the process becoming one of the first African-American entrepreneurs in the music business.

Sam Cooke died on December 11, 1964, from a gunshot wound. He was 33.

Today Tunes du Jour remembers the great Sam Cooke on what would have been his 83rd birthday.

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Happy Anniversary, Ringo + Winston!

Three years ago I adopted Ringo and Winston from a nearby dog rescue shelter. Ringo was abandoned by his previous owner(s). He was micro-chipped but they never sought him. He was fending for himself on the streets of L.A. When I met him he was malnourished, weighing six pounds. His fur was shaved as it was all knotted when he was found. He sat next to me and shook for a half hour.

My intention was to adopt one dog. While meeting Ringo someone dropped off Winston. I don’t remember his background, except that the person who dropped him off was looking after him for a few days and said he’s a great dog but his previous owners couldn’t keep him.

I couldn’t decide between the two so I adopted both. They are opposites in almost every way but they get on great.

Ringo wasn’t named Ringo when I met him. I changed his name so he would have a new identity for a new, happy life. I chose Ringo after the drummer in my favorite group. Winston was already named Winston when I met him. I recall that John Lennon’s middle name was Winston, which would go well with Ringo. My next two dogs will be Harrison and Mac.

Dec 2013 si9a1833Ringo, Glenn and Winston

Here is a dog-themed playlist for my two kids, Ringo and Winston.

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