The first song I heard today was a track from one of my all-time favorite musical voices, Sam Cooke. “You Send Me”, today’s Song of the Day, was written and recorded by Sam Cooke. Historically, though, the song has been credited to Sam’s younger brother, L.C. Sam gave the writer credit to L.C. because at the time he did not want his own publisher to profit from the song.
Sam’s transition from gospel to secular pop was complete when he penned “You Send Me.” Already a star in the gospel world as a member of the legendary Soul Stirrers, Sam really hit it big in 1957 on this, his first single under his own name (his first pop song, “Lovable,” was released under a pseudonym) — a number one smash for Keen Records, selling roughly two million copies.
Though he had been released from his Soul Stirrers contract with Specialty Records, the company nevertheless filed a lawsuit for royalties, claiming that the newly crowned superstar singer wrote and recorded the song while still under the company’s contract. Sam defended himself by claiming that the song was written by his brother, Charles L.C. Cooke (see above).
Sam had also hoped that L.C. would record and release “You Send Me”. It was meant to be a gospel track. A demo in that vein was recorded by Sam in 1955, but it was later, in 1957, that the classic track would be recorded, and then released that year as a single. It was released as the “B” side to the track “Summertime”. But radio DJ’s preferred the “B”, and with that “You Send Me” went on to be the hit, staying in the #1 spot for two consecutive weeks in December of 1957.
“You Send Me” by Sam Cooke
released as a B-Side to the “Summertime” single (1957)
Song of the Day
“At first I thought it was infatuation,
but, woo, it’s lasted so long.
Now I find myself wanting,
to marry you and take you home.”
“You Send Me” is said to be the catalyst to Sam Cooke’s fame. The same year as the single’s release, Sam had been living in his producer’s apartment. But, after the single sold more than 1.5 million copies, Sam became a musical someone.
As was common practice in the 1950s, though, when it was unusual for hits in the black R&B market to crossover to the Pop charts, a cover version of “You Send Me” aimed at the Pop charts was cut by the white singer Teresa Brewer and released in October 1957.
“You Send Me” by Teresa Brewer
Symptomatic of the changing music scene, Cooke’s original was able to repeat its #1 R&B chart performance in the Pop field, eclipsing Brewer’s version. However, Brewer’s version of “You Send Me” reached as high as #8, representing a strong improvement over her five prior single releases, although “You Send Me” would prove to be Brewer’s final Top 20 hit. (from Wikipedia)
Since “You Send Me”‘s 1957 release, the song has become a landmark record of the soul genre, which Cooke helped create.
It was named as one of the 500 most important rock and roll recordings by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2005, Rolling Stone magazine listed Sam’s original version of “You Send Me” one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time (#115).
“You Send Me” has been covered by many artists. My personal favorite cover is by Aretha Franklin, released on her 1968 album, Aretha Now!
“You Send Me” by Aretha Franklin
Do you have a favorite cover of “You Send Me”? Do you have any other favorite Sam Cooke covers?