Blessed with one of soul music's sweetest voices, Sam Cooke became a key figure in the development of black music and a legendary songwriter responsible for a stream of huge hits. Making a name for himself as a teenager in the gospel groups the Highway QC's and The Soul Stirrers, Cooke first released pop singles under pseudonym Dale Cook (in order not to offend his gospel fans) before scoring his first big hit under his own name with You Send Me in 1957. He formed his own label SAR Records in 1961, going on to produce the classics Cupid, Chain Gang and Wonderful World (a Number 2 single in the UK in 1986 when it was re-released in conjunction with a Levi's jeans advert) and becoming one of the first black stars to cross over into the American mainstream at a time when the Civil Rights movement and racial issues were centre stage. He was shot dead in 1964 at a motel in Los Angeles by the night manager who claimed she was being attacked by Cooke, and though the incident was ruled a justifiable homicide, doubts and suspicions continue to surround his death. The posthumous release of the politically charged ballad A Change Is Gonna Come is regarded as his finest work and a fitting farewell for an artist who broke down race barriers and crossed social divides with some of the most glorious soul music ever recorded.