Sam Cooke is arguably the inventor of the soul music genre, in which he worked as both singer and songwriter. He had 30 Top 40 hits between 1957-64, and it’s clear that his relaxed and effortless vocals influenced an entire generation. He was murdered at the age of 33 just as his success as a crossover artist – combined with his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement – left him on the brink of exciting new possibilities in music.