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Episode #03 | 3.6.18

Sam Cooke: An Insatiable Libido and a Justifiable Homicide

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Sam Cooke was a lot of things: soul superstar, civil rights champion, whip smart entrepreneur but he was also a serial womanizer with an unbridled libido. On December 11, 1964, Sam Cooke, was shot to death by Bertha Lee Franklin, manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, CA. Franklin killed Cooke in what was ruled by the courts to be a justifiable homicide due to Cooke’s unruly, drunken behavior that involved him holding another women captive in his hotel room and allegedly raping her earlier in the evening. With full appreciation of the MeToo moment we are currently all living through as a culture, Disgraceland, with fresh eyes, looks into this crime and the successful effort by Sam Cooke’s family and powerful music industry colleagues to salvage his legacy and reputation by personally discrediting his victim.


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Peter Guralnick: Dream Boogie, The Triumph of Sam Cooke

New York Times: Shooting of Sam Cooke Held 'Justifiable Homicide'

ID Crime Feed: They Mysterious Killing of Superstar Soul Singer Sam Cooke

Disgraceland is a podcast about musicians getting away with murder and behaving very badly. It melds music history, true crime and transgressive fiction. Disgraceland is not journalism. Disgraceland is entertainment. Entertainment inspired by true events. However, certain scenes, characters and names are sometimes fictionalized for dramatic purposes.


Score by Jake Brennan. 

Mixed and Engineered by Sean Cahalin.

Disgraceland theme song, "Crenshaw Space Boogie" written and produced by Jake Brennan. Performed by Jake Brennan, Bryce Kanzer, Jay Cannava and Evan Kenney. Mixed and engineered by Adam Taylor.

This episode featured the song, "Operator" written, performed and produced by Bodega Girls with Adam Taylor and Paul Q. Kolderie.

The song, "Electric Jesus" by Jake Brennan was also used in this episode. 

*illustration by Avi Spivak @avispivak