Sam Cooke’s Sad Demise by Gunshot

Peter Guralnick was interviewed on Fresh Air recently, he wrote a book about Sam Cooke called Dream Boogie. The most interesting item I recall was his tale of how this music legend met his untimely demise. He said that Cooke for most of his life preferred the company of hookers to girlfriends, and that he spent a lot of time in seedy brothels while he was out touring.

One night Cooke was with a prostitute after a gig, and she decided to rob him of his wallet while he was still in bed. Cooke, whose temper Guralnick said was explosive, jumped out of bed and ran out of the hotel stark naked, trying to catch the escaping hooker. He was waving something that looked like a gun. The late night desk clerk, alarmed to see a raving, ferocious and naked Cooke, shot him as he lunged toward the desk.

It was a sad way for anyone to die, especially Sam Cooke, whose sweet voice and good looks had sustained him on a path to riches and glory–before he fell down dead at an early age.