Sam Gooden, founding member of The Impressions, dies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Sam Gooden, one of the original members of the Chicago soul group The Impressions and a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, has died. He was 87 years old.

Gooden died Thursday, a month shy of his 88th birthday, in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, surrounded by his family, his daughter, Gina Griffin, said. The death was first reported by WRCB-TV in Chattanooga.

The Impressions formed in the 1950s after Gooden and brothers Richard and Arthur Brooks met Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler in Chicago. Butler sang lead baritone on his successful 1958 recording, the classic ballad “For Your Precious Love,” though many of his hits featured tenor Mayfield, with Gooden singing bass behind him.

The Impressions remained a prominent group into the 1960s, known for their gospel-style harmonies and socially conscious songs. Mayfield helped write many of their hits, including “People Get Ready,” “Gypsy Woman,” “Keep on Pushing,” “It’s All Right” and “We’re A Winner.” The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Seven years later, “People Get Ready” entered the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Mayfield left the group in 1970 to pursue a solo career, although he continued to write and help produce for The Impressions. Gooden and fellow Chattanoogan Fred Cash continued to sing as The Impressions along with other lead vocalists including Leroy Hutson. They toured until 2018.

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