Chattanoogan Sam Gooden dies at 87, co-founded The Impressions

The Hall of Fame singing group scored hits in the 1950s-70s

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – A member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame died this week in Chattanooga.

Sam Gooden was 87.

Gooden formed the group The Impressions with brothers Richard and Arthur Brooks along with songwriter Curtis Mayfield and lead singer Jerry Butler.

The group had hits in the 1950’s like “For Your Precious Love.”

After Butler left for a solo career, the hits kept coming in the 1960s with Mayfield on lead vocals.

“People Get Ready”.. “Keep on Pushing”.. and Gypsy Woman were just a few.

But they were more than just hit-makers. Their positive songs of empowerment became the soundtrack for the civil rights movement of the sixties.

When Mayfield left in the 1970’s, Gooden and fellow Chattanoogan Fred Cash kept going as The Impressions.

They continued recording (with 3 more hits) and touring the world.

The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

After celebrating 60 years together and completing their first ever tour of Japan, The Impressions finally retired from the road in 2018.

The Tennessee Music Pathways honored their career with a marker at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in 2019.

At the time, Gooden told us “It’s something that my kids and grandkids can walk by and they can see.. something they can remember when I’m Gone and Away from here.

And his partner Fred Cash added “There’s one more thing I want to say. Keep on Pushing.”

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