Producer: Richard "Bumps" Blackwell
Released: Oct. '57, Keen
26 weeks; No. 1
The plan was to remake gospel star Cooke as a secular singer. But Specialty Records owner Art Rupe objected so strongly to Blackwell's use of white female backing vocalists for a session — Rupe thought that Cooke was watering his sound down too much — that he released Cooke from his contract. Major-label scouts were confused by the record, too, thinking it was too soft for R&B but too gritty for the pop charts. Then Blackwell took the tapes to Keen Records' Bob Keane, who had signed Ritchie Valens and who smelled another winner. "I said, 'Screw the black market,'" Keane said. "'This is a pop record, daddy-o!'"
Appears on: Greatest Hits (RCA)