50 years ago today, Sam Cooke was shot to death by a motel manager in what was quickly ruled to be a justifiable homicide despite a lot of loose ends and rumors of foul play. Here he is performing his first big non-gospel hit, “You Send Me.”

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.