It's hard to pick only one studio cut by Sam Cooke to put up here. Not only is he one of the true fathers of modern soul music, he is also one the most important black artists of the 50's and early 60's to crossover to the white pop charts.
His live album, and presumably his "chitlin' circuit" gigs, is another story. There you find a rough edge to his voice that never surfaced on his radio-bound studio work. His voice on his studio singles is as smooth as the finest cognac you could never afford to taste. With his untimely death in 1964, Smokey Robinson would pick up the torch of smooth soul music without him.
But Cooke's music lives on. Wonderful World (1960) above is just one of Cooke's crossover radio hits. I picked it because I've always loved its blend of a perfect pop melody with elegantly simple poetry.
The body of Sam Cooke's recordings to this day sets the standard for soulful, accessible pop. So sit back and enjoy this pioneer of soul music giving us one of his many fine performances.