Throwback: Happy 85th Birthday, Sam Cooke!

January is a busy month for music history.


  • Led Zeppelin
    ‘s John Paul Jones celebrated his 77th birthday on January 3. 
  • R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe celebrated his 63rd birthday on January 4
  • Joy Division and New Order founder Bernard Sumner also celebrated his 67th birthday on January 4 
  • The 70th anniversary of AC/DC co-founder, rhythm guitarist, songwriter and backing vocalist Malcom Young’s birth was on January 6
  • The 76th anniversary of David Bowie‘s brith was on January 8
  • The Doors‘ Robby Krieger celebrated his 77th birthday on January 8
  • Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page celebrated his 79th birthday on January 9
  • Steely Dan co-founder, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Donald Fagen celebrated his 75th birthday on January 10. 
  • Mary J. Blige, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul celebrated her 52nd birthday on January 11
  • Raekwon celebrated his 52nd birthday on January 12. Raekwon’s work with Wu-Tangand as a solo artist have helped to cement his reputation among the cognoscenti as one of the most gifted and unique emcees in the history of hip-hop.
  • Dave Grohl celebrated his 54th birthday on January 14
  • Lisa Lisa and The Cult Jam’s frontwoman Lisa “Lisa Lisa” Velez celebrated her 56th birthday on January 15
  • The queen of Quiet Storm, Sade celebrated her 64th birthday on January 16
  • The Bangles’ co-founder and frontperson Susanna Hoffs celebrated her 64th birthday on January 17
  • The Temptations‘ former lead singer David Ruffin was born 82 years ago. He was the lead singer from 1963-1968, which may arguably be the soul act’s most legendary and pioneering period. He also had an impressive solo career — with some equally great songs for a period of time. 
  • The 80th anniversary of Janis Joplin‘s was on January 19
  • Dolly Parton celebrated her 77th birthday on January 19
  • Kevin Parker, the acclaimed Aussie singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as JOVM mainstay Tame Impala, celebrated his 37th birthday on January 20 
  • The 58th anniversary of the birth of Run DMC‘s DJ Jam Master Jay was on January 21 

Legendary soul singer/songwriter Sam Cooke was born 85 years ago today. Cooke is largely considered to be a pioneer and arguably one of the most influential soul artists, because he helped popularized soul to White audiences. Basically without Cooke, there’s no Motown, no Jackson 5, no hip-hop, none of that.

Happy birthday, Sam! Happy birthday, wherever you are!