So I just bought the greatest hits compilation off iTunes. The man had a voice to die for. And just saying he had a beautiful or angelic voice is an understatement. In my opinion he's the second greatest singer of all time, the first still being Marvin Gaye. More often than not, people are so attuned to hearing a soothing pop voice on the radio or when traveling with iPods, that after a prolonged period of time, the singers and the songs just sorta fade away into the background, becoming some sort of muzak. But you listen to someone like Sam Cooke and you'll stop whatever you're doing and actually want to pay attention and really listen to him; the way he sings, the way he phrases his words, the way he emphasizes and punctuates his words.
He does it so effortlessly that one might think it'll be easy to replicate his style, but it's not. Take a song like A Change Is Gonna Come for example, which sounds like it can be easily sung. But listen to the first lines of every verse, the parts where he stretches his words. My God, it's just fucking heartbreaking and magical. Especially so during the last one:
There's been times that I thought
I could last for long
Now I think I'm able to carry on...
I could listen to this song over and over again and never get tired of it. That's how perfect his singing is. It's sad he died so young. He was like the Messiah of Soul -- God put him here on Earth and he changed the music world during his short life, and then God called him back to Heaven.
P.S. Every song on this collection is pure gold. These are a few of my personal favorites: You Send Me, Touch The Hem Of His Garment, I'll Come Running Back To You, Cupid, Only Sixteen, Another Saturday Night, Good Times, Bring It On Home To Me, That's Where It's At, Tennessee Waltz, Meet Me At Mary's Place (now I know where Springsteen got his inspiration for his own Mary's Place from!)