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Sam Cooke (January 22 1931 Ė December 11 1964) was a
popular and influential American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. Musicians and critics today recognize him as one of the founders of soul music, and as one of the most important singers in soul music history. He has been called "the king of soul" by many, and while some may dispute this title, Sam Cooke's legacy is an extensive one and his impact on soul music is undeniable.