“You Hear Them Moanin’ Their Lives Away.”-Sam Cooke

“Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.”Oscar Wilde

On July 26th, 1960, Sam Cooke released his composition, “Chain Gang.”  This is a very historical date for on “July 26, 1960, all Woolworth stores were desegregated. The Greensboro, NC, Woolworth’s is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, and a section of its lunch counter has pride of place in the Smithsonian Institution.”TacomaArts

“Inspired by Sam Cooke’s running into a chain gang of prisoners while on tour, the song pays homage to their hard work. Cooke was reportedly so moved by the plight of the prisoners that he and his brother gave them cartons of cigarettes. In exchange, the R&B crooner got his second-biggest hit, a song that hit Number Two on the pop charts. “Chain Gang” has lived on in tributes such as The Pretenders’ “Back on the Chain Gang,” with its prisoner chant that echoes Cooke’s original. The song also changed the life of one Rod Stewart. “I heard Sam Cooke singing this on the transistor radio,” he told Rolling Stone. “Up until then, my whole world was Eddie Cochran and Woody Guthrie.”RollingStone

6 thoughts on ““You Hear Them Moanin’ Their Lives Away.”-Sam Cooke

  1. I love that song too. I love a lot of Sam Cooke’s stuff. Ever hear the Soul Stirrers? He was the lead singer of that acapella gospel group before he went rocknroll. The Soul Stirrers are amazing. Bumbas and Maybank did a simple version of Chain Gang that I posted a year ago when I started working again (actually I have a cushy job).

  2. My stepson just told us it will exceed 100 degrees today, in New Orleans where he lives . It’s beyond stifling there at 90. Imagine being out in that doing hard physical labor. And in shackles? Why do we think cruelty is any way to stop crime? Or even to punish it; we just make ourselves cruel and callous in the process.

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