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Singer Sam Cooke Killed

1964 – Singer Sam Cooke Killed in Los Angeles

Sam Cooke, a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was killed on this day in 1964. Cooke, ranked the 4th Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, was shot to death at the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California. Cooke was shot three times in the chest by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the motel, when she said he threatened to kill her after an earlier altercation in his room with another woman, Elisa Boyer. It is believed that Boyer robbed him and that Cooke believed her to be hiding in the manager’s office.

Cooke rose to prominence as a singer in the legendary Gospel group the Soul Stirrers before moving into the pop and soul music world  where he scored huge hits such as “You Send Me” (1957), “Chain Gang” (1960), “Cupid” (1961), “Twistin’ the Night Away” (1962) and “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964).

Two funeral services were held for Cooke,  in Chicago, IL on December 18, 1964 which drew 200,000 fans and one the next day in Los Angeles.