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Profile: Sam and Dave


Sam and Dave

Sam and Dave

source: kser.org


1961 (Miami, FL)


Soul, R&B, Pop-soul


Sam Moore (b. October 12, 1935, Miami, FL): vocals (tenor)
Dave Prater, Jr. (b. May 9, 1937, Ocilla, GA; d. April 9, 1988, Sycamore, GA): vocals (baritone/tenor)

Contributions to music:

  • Soul music's most commercially successful and critically revered duo
  • Almost singlehandedly brought gospel call-and-response permanently into R&B
  • One of Stax's greatest acts and an outlet for the writing team of Isaac Hayes and Dave Porter
  • The main inspiration for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's "Blues Brothers" act
  • Their live performances could arguably be considered the greatest of their era

Early years:

Sam Moore and Dave Prater had become somewhat familiar with each other through Miami's small gospel scene in the early Sixties -- Sam had sung with The Melionaires and Dave with The Sensational Hummingbirds. But both had since gone into secular music, inspired by Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke, when Dave appeared in Miami's King of Hearts club in 1961. Attempting to cover Wilson's "Doggin' Around" during amateur night, Prater forgot the words. Sam stepped in, trading lines, and the rest is history.


Signed originally to Roulette Records, it took four years for the duo to eventually find success after a label jump to Atlantic, who "loaned" the two to Stax. Working with songwriters Issac Hayes and Dave Porter, the Booker T. and the M.G.s house band, and the Memphis Horns, they created a series of classics -- "Soul Man," "Hold On! I'm Comin'," and "I Thank You," among others. Personal animosity and Stax's sale, however, ensured that the formula would dry up by the early Seventies.

Later years:

Although the two couldn't stand each other offstage, they continued to perform together during the Seventies as a source of income, though both were battling horrible addictions to heroin and cocaine. In 1982, the duo split for good. Prater toured with bogus Sams for many years and never found his way out of his troubles, dying in a car crash in 1988. Moore took a long hard road back with the help of his wife Joyce, who got him off the drugs and out of debt. He still performs and records today.

Other facts:

  • "Hold On! I'm Comin'" was banned in several cities due to what was considered a sexually suggestive title
  • "Soul Man" was an important hit for Stax, giving them their biggest foray into the pop charts since Carla Thomas' "Gee Whiz" (1961)
  • The bridge from "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" was used again for Aretha Franklin's "Respect"
  • After Prater shot his girlfriend in the face during an argument in 1968, Moore vowed never to speak to him offstage again


  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992)
  • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (1999)

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
  • "Hold On! I'm Comin'" (1966)
  • "Soul Man" (1967)
Top 10 hits:
  • "Soul Man" (1967)
  • "I Thank You" (1968)
  • "You Don't Know Like I Know" (1966)
  • "Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody" (1966)
  • "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" (1967)
  • "You Got Me Hummin'" (1967)
  • "I Thank You" (1968)
#1 albums:
  • Hold On, I'm Comin' (1966)
Top 10 albums:
  • Double Dynamite (1967)
  • Soul Men (1967)
Other important recordings: "Goodnight Baby," "I Take What I Want," "I Got Everything I Need," "Small Portion of Your Love," "Don't Make It So Hard On Me," "Blame Me (Don't Blame My Heart)," "Soothe Me," "I Don't Need Nobody (To Tell Me 'Bout My Baby)," "That's The Way It's Gotta Be," "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down," "Toe Hold," "The Good Runs the Bad Away," "Rich Kind of Poverty," "May I Baby," "Wrap It Up," "You Don't Know What You Mean to Me," "I've Seen What Loneliness Can Do," "Broke Down Piece of Man," "Come On In," "Can't You Find Another Way (Of Doing It)," "My Reason For Living," "Everybody Got to Believe in Somebody," "Soul Sister, Brown Sugar" "Born Again," "Baby-Baby Don't Stop Now"
Appears on: Sam Moore only: "Soul Driver", "Roll of the Dice, "Real World," "Man's Job," Bruce Springsteen; "You're Not Drinking Enough," Don Henley; "Rainy Night In Georgia," Conway Twitty
Covered by: ZZ Top, The Blues Brothers, Eurythmics, The Band, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, Burton Cummings, Bon Jovi
Appears in the movies: "One Trick Pony" (1980) Sam Moore only: "Tapeheads" (1988), "Blues Brothers 2000" (1998), "Only The Strong Survive" (2002), "Night At The Golden Eagle" (2002), "Soulsville" (2003)
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