- Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions
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“Chain Gang” is a song by the American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, released on July 26, 1960. The song became one of Cooke’s most successful singles, peaking at number two on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B Sides chart; it also charted at number nine on the UK Singles Chart.
This was Cooke’s second-biggest American hit, his first single for RCA Victor after leaving Keen Records earlier in 1959, and was also his first top 10 hit since “You Send Me” from 1957, and his second-biggest Pop single. The song was inspired after a chance meeting with an actual chain-gang of prisoners on a highway, seen while Sam was on tour. According to legend, Cooke and his brother Charles felt sorry for the men and gave them several cartons of cigarettes. Cooke was reportedly unsatisfied with the initial recording sessions of this song at RCA Studios in New York in January 1960, and came back three months later to redo some of the vocals to get the effect he wanted.
Five months later, Ty Hunter & The Voice Masters tried an Answer Song, “Free“, but it missed making the Top 100. The songwriting credits are sometimes erroneously attributed to Sol Quasha & Herb Yakus, who wrote a different song with the same title that was recorded by Bobby Scott and made the Top 20 in 1956. […]
Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.