An ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of our most outstanding cultural artists. Created in 1984, the series is both a celebration and an exploration of creativity in America, documenting the role important individuals, groups, and movements have played in the formation of our cultural identity.
American Masters Previous Broadcasts
Sam Cooke: Crossing Over (Episode #2208H)
KQED 9: Mon, Dec 9, 2013 -- 11:00 PM
Sam Cooke put the spirit of the black church into popular music -- creating a new sound and setting into motion a chain of events that forever altered the course of popular music and race relations in America. With "You Send Me" in 1957, Cooke became the first African American artist to reach #1 on both the R&B and the pop charts. He proved with his pop/gospel hybrid, that it was, indeed, possible to win over white teenage listeners and keep his faithful church followers intact. In combining two worlds, his constant challenge was to sing meaningful lyrics with the fervor of gospel and the romance of pop. He came closest with "Chain Gang," observed and written during the Civil Rights era and with the poignant, biting lyrics and melody of "A Change Is Gonna Come" in 1962, fashioned out of the depth of personal pain and loss. He had the courage to take an open stand against racism, refusing to perform at a segregated venue in the south and garnering the support of Dick Clark. But, at the height of his success in 1964, he was gunned down and killed in the company of a prostitute -- leaving a profound legacy filled with extraordinary talent -- and all the questions about what might have been. This documentary includes original interviews with Lou Rawls, James Brown, Sam Moore, Bobby Womack, Smokey Robinson, Mel Carter, Herb Alpert, Lou Adler and James Carter, among many others from both sides of the crossover music world, then and now.
- KQED 9: Tue, Dec 10, 2013 -- 5:00 AM