50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time

Rolling Stone ranks the 50 best live albums ever, from Jimi Hendrix at Monterey to Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

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Sam Cooke, 'Live At the Harlem Square Club, 1963' (1985)

14. Sam Cooke, 'Live At the Harlem Square Club, 1963' (1985)

The elegant Sam Cooke was one of the most successful crossover R&B stars of the Sixties. On this January night in 1963, performing for a black audience in a packed Miami club, he let his raw, soulful side break free ("don't fight it," he tells the audience, "we're gonna feel it"). Cooke's connection with the rapturous crowd is electric, the band swings like crazy and his versions of classics like "Having A Party" and "Bring It On Home To Me" rock as hard anything else going at the time. RCA Records found the results a too intense for his pop image, and shelved the performance — when they did release a live album it was 1964's comparatively toned down At the Copa. The album was finally released 20 years later to critical acclaim. Jon Dolan

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