Sam & Dave were a soul and R&B duo from the United States that played from 1961 until 1981. Sam Moore (born 1935) sang tenor (higher) and Dave Prater (born 1937) sang baritone/tenor (lower).
Sam & Dave are regarded as one of the greatest live acts of the 1960s, having been dubbed “Double Dynamite,” “The Sultans of Sweat,” and “The Dynamic Duo” for their gritty, gospel-infused performances. Many later performers, including Bruce Springsteen, Al Green, Tom Petty, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Steve Van Zandt, Elvis Costello, The Jam, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Joel, and Steve Winwood, have cited them as influences.
The Blues Brothers, who helped revive soul, R&B, and blues in the 1980s, were influenced by Sam & Dave; their biggest hit was a copy of “Soul Man,” and their act and stage performance included numerous homages to the duo.
Sam Moore and Dave Prater both grew up listening to and singing gospel music in their homes and churches, with Dave also singing gospel in his church’s choir. Dave later sang in the gospel group The Sensational Hummingbirds with his older brother JT Prater, who released “Lord Teach Me” in the 1950s.
Sam recorded “Nitey-Nite”/”Caveman Rock” in 1954 with The Majestics, a doo-wop group, and later with gospel groups The Gales and The Mellonaires. Moore and Prater cited Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke as influences, and Moore was also influenced by Little Willie John, who he and Dave frequently opened for in the early 1960s.
According to Dave, Sam and Dave met while working on the evangelical music circuit and then at small clubs in Miami during amateur nights in 1961.
They sang together one night at the King of Hearts club and soon began working together, producing a live act combining gospel-inspired call-and-response. Steve Alaimo, a soul singer and record producer, discovered them while performing with them at Miami’s King of Hearts nightclub and signed them to Marlin Records.
After two singles were issued on the local Marlin label owned by Miami’s Henry Stone in early 1962, Stone assisted in signing them to Roulette Records in New York City. From 1962 to 1964, they recorded six 45s with Roulette (two of which were reissues of Marlin recordings) and one single on Stone and Alaimo’s Alston Label.
A number of the singles garnered regional radio but did not chart nationally. The songs, which were produced in part by Steve Alaimo and in part by Henry Glover, were similar in many ways to R&B recordings by Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and Little Willie John. Prater sang lead vocals on the majority of these hits, with Moore providing harmony and alternate verses.
According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Sam & Dave were the most successful soul combo, and their call-and-response albums introduced the sounds of the black gospel church to pop music.
“Soul Man,” “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” “You Don’t Know Like I Know,” “I Thank You,” “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby,” “Wrap It Up,” and many other Southern Soul songs were recorded predominantly at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1965 to 1968. Except for Aretha Franklin, no soul act enjoyed more consistent R&B chart success during Sam & Dave’s Stax years (1965-1968), with 10 consecutive top 20 singles and three consecutive top 10 LPs.
Their crossover chart appeal (13 consecutive appearances and two top 10 singles) paved the path for white pop audiences to adopt soul music, and their song “Soul Man” was one of the first songs by a black group to top the pop charts utilising the word “soul,” helping to define the genre. “Soul Man” was a number one Pop Hit (Cashbox: November 11, 1967) and has been named by the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone magazine, and the RIAA Songs of the Century as one of the most influential songs of the last 50 years. “Soul Man” was used as the soundtrack and title for a 1986 film as well as a 1997-1998 television series, and Soul Men was a feature film released in 2008.
Sam and Dave have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of Fame, Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame. They got the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for their work on “Soul Man.” Sam and Dave were voted 14th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Is Sam & Dave From?
Sam & Dave are an American soul and R&B duo who were active from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. They are best known for their hit songs “Soul Man” and “I Thank You”.
Who Wrote Sam & Dave Hold On I’M Coming?
The song “Sam & Dave Hold On I’m Coming” was written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
What Songs Did Sam And Dave Biggest Hits ?
The song “Hold On, I’m Comin'” is Sam and Dave’s biggest hit. The duo released the song in 1966, and it reached the top spot on the R&B charts. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett.
Sam And Dave Genre?
The duo’s music was characterized by a hard-driving, soulful sound that was inspired by gospel music. Sam Moore and Dave Prater were both singer-songwriters, and they wrote most of their own material. They were also known for their dynamic stage performances, which often featured call-and-response singing and acrobatic dance moves.