Sam Cooke


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Yet another perfect pop song from Sam Cooke, falling more in line with his earlier crossover smooth pop hits like "You Send Me" than his later return-to-his-roots gospel-based soul songs like "Bring It on Home to Me." In fact, "Cupid" has less to do with R&B and gospel music and is more similar to the classic songwriting of the American theater by the Gershwins and Cole Porter. As with Leiber & Stoller and Brill Building songwriters like Bert Berns, with songs like "Cupid," Cooke -- who had already achieved star status as a gospel performer -- helped usher in a new era of pop composition that combined Latin, R&B, jazz, and mainstream pop elements. "Cupid" touches on all of these genres. Cooke was influential not only as a performer, but as a composer as well.

Beginning with the slightly melancholy sound of a French horn over slightly Afro-Cuban rhythms, Cooke croons in his smooth tenor a request to the diminutive Roman god with a sing-song melody: "Cupid, draw back your bow/And let your arrow go/Straight to my lover's heart for me/Cupid, please hear my cry and let your arrows fly." It is a clever, lighthearted lyric, bordering on being a novelty tune, with the onomatopoeic "ssssss-straight to my lover's heart." "Now, cupid if your arrow make a love storm for me/I promise I will love her until eternity/I know between the two of us her heart we can steal/Help me if you will," sings Cooke, charmingly implying a Southern-accented rhyme with "steal" and "will." High-register strings and R&B/doo wop backing vocals join the building arrangement.

"Cupid" was released in 1961 and spent three months in the Top 20. The Spinners scored a Top 40 hit with the song in 1981 as part of a medley. Johnny Nash also had a Top 40 hit with an excellent reggae version in 1970.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Best of Sam Cooke [RCA] 1962 RCA 2:30
No Image 196? TRIP 2:46
No Image 1970 RCA
No Image 1976 RCA
The Man and His Music 1986 RCA 2:30
Innerspace 1987 DGC 2:30
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1961 - Still Rockin' 1989
Various Artists
Caribbean Steel Band, Vol. 2 1994
Various Artists
Arion 3:51
Wedding Album [Double Gold] 1997
Various Artists
Double Gold 2:49
Greatest Hits 1998 RCA 2:37
The Great Sam Cooke 1999 Goldies 2:30
No Image 2000 RCA 2:45
All Hits 2000 Remember Records 2:31
No Image 2000 Castle Music Ltd. 2:30
Hits! 2001 BMG International 2:37
The Best of Sam Cooke [Paradiso] 2002 Paradiso 2:37
Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 2003 ABKCO Records 2:38
Wonderful World: The Very Best of Sam Cooke 1957-60 2011 Jasmine / Jasmine Records 0:00
Amy's Jukebox: The Music That Inspired Amy Winehouse 2011
Various Artists
Chrome Dreams 2:36
1961 British Hit Parade, Pt. 2: April-September 2012
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:28
The Best of Sam Cooke [APO] 2012 Analogue Productions / APO (Analogue Production Originals) 2:38
Music That Inspired American Graffiti 2012
Various Artists
Not Now Music 2:37
Hits of the 60s [Music Digital 2012] 2012
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:37
Britain's Greatest Hits 1961 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat Music / Fabulous 2:26
A Portrait of Dylan: Influences 1969-1970 2014
Various Artists
Chrome Dreams 2:36
The Complete Solo Singles, As & Bs, 1957-62 2016 Acrobat Music 2:30
The Best of Sam Cooke [New World] 2017 New World
The Best of Soul [Hot Rock] 2017 Hot Rock / Zebralution
Cupid: The Very Best of Sam Cooke 1961-1962 2018 Jasmine Records 2:37
Dreamboats and Petticoats, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:35
King of Soul [Sound and Vision] Sound and Vision
Legends of Soul and Jazz, Vol. Two
Various Artists
Sound and Vision
Soul of the '60s
Various Artists
Time Life 2:37
Time Life Presents: Greatest Love Songs of the 60's [5 Discs]
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:37