Sam Moore, the tenor from the R&B group Sam and Dave turns 86 today. After Moore and Dave Prater met in Florida in 1961, they recorded unsuccessfully until 1965 when Atlantic Records signed them. Atlantic used their Stax Records affiliate to manage the group and with production help from Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Sam and Dave had their first hit in’ 65 followed by a string of records that came to epitomize southern soul in that decade.
Sam and Dave grew up in the South and sang in church. Before meeting, they each pursued solo careers in clubs throughout the South before meeting at the King of Hearts club in Miami. After Sam helped Dave remember the lyrics to a Jackie Wilson song he was singing, the pair decided to perform together and become a popular act in Miami..
The “Sultans of Sweat” were the most successful soul duo ever and brought the sounds of black gospel to popular music through their use of call and response in their songs.From 1965 to 1968 no other soul act could match Sam and Dave’s 10 consecutive top 20 singles and three consecutive top 10 LPs.
The pair split in 1970 when Sam decided he wanted to pursue a solo career. The pair were famous for their stormy relationship – often traveling separately to shows and reportedly not speaking offstage for thirteen years. Occasionally Sam Moore would not show up for concerts with Dave replacing him with Sam Daniels.
By 1974 the pair reunited, and in 1979 they experienced a revival of interest when Dan Akyroyd and John Belushi released their cover of Soul Man as the Blues Brothers. Inductees into the Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues and Memphis Music Halls of Fame, Sam and Dave also won a Grammy for Soul Man and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.