Sam Gooden was a soul singer from the United States. He was most known for being a founding member of the renowned 1991 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted R&B group The Impressions, which began in the 1950s as The Roosters.

He died at his birthplace of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on August 4, a month shy of his 88th birthday, encircled by his family.

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In the late 1950s, Gooden relocated to Chicago to pursue a career in music and a minor league baseball career. He eventually formed The Impressions with Jerry Butler and singer-songwriter Curtis Mayfield, releasing million-selling singles such as For Your Precious Love, Gypsy Woman, It’s Alright, Amen, People Get Ready, and Choice of Colors.

The Impressions continued to play until Gooden and Fred Cash announced their retirement in 2019 to garden and spend time with family in Chattanooga, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“I love Chattanooga,” Gooden said then. “I’ve always loved Chattanooga.”

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Gooden and Cash claimed in an interview that their long lives and careers could be credited to several things, including living in Chattanooga among old friends and family.

“God has blessed us,” Gooden said. “We are able to sing in the same key today as we always have. But we stopped drinking long ago, don’t smoke and no drugs.”

Though his silky voice is frequently unnoticed, he can be heard trading lines with lead singer Curtis Mayfield (most notably on It’s All Right) or his substitute, Leroy Hutson, on a number of tracks. Gooden also provided lead vocals on a few Impressions songs, including Aware Of Love and the group’s cover of I Wanna Be Around.

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Gooden and the ensemble were still recording and performing in 2022. He and the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

He can be seen alongside original Impressions members Fred Cash and the late Curtis Mayfield (via archive footage) in the group’s first-ever extended interview in the 2008 DVD Movin On Up – The Message and The Music of Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions, which also includes a special poem written and performed by actor Clifton Davis dedicated to the group.