Samuel Cook (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964), better known by the stage name Sam Cooke, was an American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He is considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music. He is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocal abilities and influence on the modern world of music. His contribution in pioneering soul music led to the rise of Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and popularized the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown. Cooke had 26 U.S. top 40 hits from 1957-64 and three more after his death. Major hits like “You Send Me,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “Cupid,” “Chain Gang,” “Wonderful World,” and “Twistin’ the Night Away” are some of his most popular songs. Cooke was also among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career. He founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. He also took an active part in the American Civil Rights Movement.