What a wonderful world it would be if Sam Cooke hadn’t been brutally murdered.

Sam Cooke was murdered at the age of 33. Same age that Jesus was when he died. Coincidence? Probably. Or probably not?

But he did have the voice of a god. So fucking smooth. And soulful. Sam Cooke was a soulful-ass singer in the late 1950s and early 1960s, known for the old standards as well as some fucking great Civil Rights era, socially conscious songs that may or may not make me wish I wasn’t Caucasian sometimes. I LITERALLY cannot recommend enough that you go out to your nearest record store (because there are so many of those still in business these days) and purchase Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend IMMEDIATELY. Immediately. It’s really just sublime.

Obviously I have a soft spot for this man. Because in addition to melting the hearts of millions with his velvety-ass voice, he was also VERY attractive.

I mean really.

And Sam Cooke was the victim of a juicy and SEXY scandal.

Let’s set the scene. December 1964. The Hacienda Motel, Los Angeles. Sam checks in with a one Ms. Elisa Boyer, who may or may not have been a prostitute. Which is a teensy bit difficult, because Sam was married. Oops! Also when they met earlier in the evening, she claims that he maybe sort of forced her to go to the motel. Double oops! And that he threw her onto the bed and she was convinced he was going to rape her. But he didn’t! Instead he stepped into the bathroom (you know, to freshen up), and girlfriend grabbed her clothes and in her haste, Sam’s clothes, and got the hell out of dodge before he came back out. She then says that she ran to the locked manager’s office, but bitch took too long to answer, so she ran to a phone booth and called the police.

When Sam noticed that she wasn’t there, he was just a smidge upset. He was probably also a little pissed that all she left him was a sport coat and AN single shoe (seriously, look at the picture below).

So Sam, looking for his lady friend, headed downstairs to the manager’s office after putting on his remaining clothes. Said manager, Bertha Franklin, claims that Sam grabbed her violently demanding to know where Boyer went. There was some grappling, and in self defense, she went ahead and shot him in the torso. Fatally. Sam’s eloquent last words: “Lady, you shot me!” And then just to you know, make sure she was REALLY defending herself, she beat the shit out him with a broomstick.

How the police found poor Sam. Single shoe not pictured.

So all this makes him seem like kind of a bad guy, right? And I, in turn, seem sort of fucking weird for finding him so hot. But here’s the thing. Elisa Boyer was a shady, shady bitch. Her testimony (outlined above) is the only account of what happened between she and Sam that night. There were major inconsistencies between her story and the reports of other witnesses. Sam had thousands of dollars in his pocket that went missing. She was arrested for prostitution soon after the incident. A lot of people (probably also maybe myself included) think that she went to the motel willingly, knowing he had lots of cash money because he was famous, and tried to rob him and slip out quietly like a bitch. And theft would explain why young Sam was so angry (and also probably embarrassed on account of being naked) when he got to the manager’s office.

Lots of people (and by that I mean his family and friends, but you know, lots) think that there was a major conspiracy surrounding his death. And interestingly, Etta James, equally vocally talented and one of the strongest strong black women in history, identified his body in the morgue, naturally. And she asserts that there’s absolutely no way a single woman could inflict the nasty nasty wounds that she saw. We’re talking near-decapatation.

So, there it is. And let’s review:

He was a voice for the downtrodden.
He was sort of the messiah of soul. I mean he pioneered it, so same thing.
He was tempted by sin.
He was with a prostitute.
It was Christmastime (Easter would have been better, but I’ll take it).
He was only wearing one piece of clothing.
He was 33.
One could feasibly say that he died a martyr’s death.

Did Bertha Franklin singlehandedly quash the Second Coming? I don’t know. But I do know that I just made up eight things that make him seem like a lot less of a bastard and a lot more like Jesus.

MRG


4 Comments on “What a wonderful world it would be if Sam Cooke hadn’t been brutally murdered.”

  1. Leon says:

    never saw that picture of him after being shot; ouch!

  2. pgra says:

    He was very sexy… tHose women are old now if not dead and they have to answer to God…i believe it was a set up and the prostitue robbed sam cooke…………

  3. stefmagura says:

    I saw documentaries about Sam Cooke and participants said that even when he was a gospel singer girls treated him like a teen idol. Makes you wonder what they were there for, the message of the music or Sam. 😉 Speaking of the music, there is a compilation which consists mostly of Sam Cooke’s gospel recordings and it’s awesome.

    • mgiac3090 says:

      Hi Stef, thanks so much for reading! Admittedly, I’m unfamiliar with his earlier gospel stuff – grew up in a decidedly soulful/Motowny house – so now I’m going to iTunes to find this compilation of which you speak. It sounds delicious.
      Keep reading!
      MRG


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