Lawd Have Mercy! Maybe my favorite male singer ever! I'm in A Sad Mood Tonight and Change Gonna Come are unbelievable. Sam Cooke had 30 U.S. top 40 hits between 1957 and 1964, plus three more posthumously. Cooke was among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career. He founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. He also took an active part in the Civil Rights Movement.