Photo: Johnny Moonshine

The Impressions Founding Member, Sam Gooden: Dead At 87

Founding and longest-serving member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted soul group the Impressions, Sam Gooden has passed away at the age of 87.

In a statement to the  the Associated Press on Thursday (8.04,) Gooden’s daughter Gina Griffin confirmed her father’s death in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. And while no cause of death was provided, reported that the legendary musicians health had declined in recent years, including kidney and breathing issues.

Following a stint in the army, Gooden moved to Chicago, where he and fellow Chattanooga singers and brothers Arthur and Richard Brooks were joined by Chicago childhood friends Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler in a doo-wop act called the Roosters. In 1958 the group was subsequently renamed Jerry Butler and the Impressions and recorded their first R&B hit “For Your Precious Love.” 

Following the Brooks brothers’ exit, the act rebranded itself as a trio called The Impressions, with Mayfield assuming leadership of the act as the primary songwriter and lead singer following Butler’s departure. The group released a string of early Sixties hits including “Gypsy Woman,” “It’s All Right,” and their classic “People Get Ready.” The latter single was the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights movement, and was later inducted into both the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame.

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Johnny Moonshine