In 1956, Sam Cooke released his first pop song, “Lovable,” under the name Dale Cooke so as not to alienate the gospel following he’d amassed in his five years as lead vocalist for the Soul Stirrers.
One of eight sons of a Baptist minister, Cooke saw the division between the secular and the sanctified; so did Art Rupe of the Specialty label, who dropped Cooke when his pop aspirations became clear. Cooke’s father, on the other hand, gave Sam his blessing.
A year later, Cooke recorded “You Send Me,” a song he’d written himself, for the Keen label. It sold 1.7 million copies and reached Number One on both the pop and R&B charts.