While the name of Curtis Mayfield will be forever associated with The Impressions, fellow member Sam Gooden is less celebrated, despite racking up over half a century in the group. He was born today in 1939.
Soul Singer Sam Gooden was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. A founding member of The Impressions (right of photo) along with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler, Sam had encountered his band mater previously while singing in church, forming a Doo Wop group named The Roosters.
Joined by the Brooks Brothers – Richard and Arthur – The Impressions enjoyed some success in the late 1950s before splitting. Reforming as a trio (Gooden, Mayfield and Fred Cash) in the early 1960s, their gospel-flavoured soul matched the mood of the times.
1965 saw the release of “People Get Ready”, a much-covered single now associated with racial unity and the civil rights movement in the USA. Its inspiration was the 1963 March on Washington, during which the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Continuing after the 1970 departure of Mayfield, Gooden and Cash (along with later recruit, Reginald Torian) continue to record and tour as The Impressions, Gooden celebrating half a century with the group in 2008.
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And here’s some footage of Sam in action: