Samuel Moore and David Prater were both raised in the Southern United States, where they sang in church as children. During the '50s, they performed in soul and R&B clubs with the gospel groups The Melionaires and The Sensational Hummingbirds, respectively, before meeting each other in at the King of Hearts club in Miami in 1961. Moore was hosting an amateur-night contest where Prater was singing. Once, Dave forgot the lyrics to Jackie Wilson's "Doggin' Around," Sam coached him through the song. Following that night, the singers agreed to work as a duo and soon became a popular local Miami act and signed with Roulette Records, releasing a handful of unsuccessful singles before being signed to Atlantic Records in 1965. Atlantic persuaded their Memphis affiliate, Stax Records, to produce them.
Working with the Stax house band, Sam And Dave created a body of sweaty, gritty soul that ranks among the finest and most popular produced in the late '60s. The duo's 1966 debut, "You Don't' Know Like I Know", kicked off a series of Top Ten R&B hits that included "Hold On! I'm Comin'" (1966), "You Got Me Hummin' (1966), "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby" (1967), "Soul Man" (1967), and "I Thank You" (1968). However, the duo's career began to unravel in 1968, when Stax's distribution deal with Atlantic ended. Since Sam & Dave were signed with Atlantic, not Stax, they no longer had access to the production team of Hayes and Porter or the house band of Booker T. & the MG's, and their recorded work took a dip in quality. Though the switch of labels was unfortunate, what really caused the duo's demise was their volatile relationship. While the pair had enormous creative energy, they frequently fought off-stage. Nicknamed "Double Dynamite," Sam And Dave became famous for their energetic, infectious live performances during the late '60s, which complimented the overall high-quality of their studio work. They may have communicated on-stage, but behind the scenes, it was reported that the duo could hardly stand each other's presence. The tension caused Sam & Dave to part ways in 1970, just a few years after their heyday.
During the '70s, Sam And Dave reunited several times to little attention. At the end of the decade, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd's Blues Brothers routine, which borrowed heavily from Sam And Dave, sparked a resurgence of interest in the two, and the pair performed a number of concerts during 1980. However, their personal animosity had not faded, and they separated after a show on New Year's Eve, 1981. For the next few years, Dave Prater toured as The New Sam And Dave Revue with vocalist Sam Daniels. In 1985, Prater and Daniels released a newly recorded medley of Sam And Dave hits which peaked at #92 on Billboard's R&B chart and was credited to Sam And Dave. Sam Moore objected to the billing and was successful in prodding the record company into recalling the single and having the label changed to The New Sam And Dave Revue. During the mid-'80s, Sam Moore revealed the sources of the duo's tensions in a series of interviews. He admitted that he had been addicted to drugs during the '70s and was tired of singing the Sam And Dave catalogue night after night.
Prater played his final gig with Sam Daniels on April 3rd, 1988 at a Stax Reunion at the Atlanta Civic Center which also featured Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd, and Rufus and Carla Thomas. Six days later, on April 9th, 1988, Prater was killed in a car crash in Sycamore, Georgia, while driving to his mother's house. Moore went on to appear with Junior Walker in the 1988 film Tapeheads and enjoyed a renewed solo career in 1994 when his duet with Conway Twitty, "Rainy Night In Georgia" appeared on the Top 10 crossover album "Rhythm, Country, and Blues". He rarely played on the Oldies circuit, but continued to record with the likes of Don Henley and Bruce Springsteen, as well as hosting his own show at Boombox Radio. In 2008, based on a poll of other musicians, Rolling Stone magazine named Sam Moore one of the 100 greatest singers of the Rock era from 1950s to 2008.
Sam And Dave were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 15th 1992. "Soul Man" was featured as the soundtrack and title for a 1986 film and also a 1997 - 1998 television series.
On August 29th, 2006 Moore finally released his first solo album, "Overnight Sensational", produced by American Idol's Randy Jackson and features Jon Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, Vince Gill, Billy Preston, Paul Rodgers, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Travis Tritt, Steve Winwood and a host of others. Although not a big seller, the album received positive critical reviews, most notably for the song "You Are So Beautiful", which featured a then 70-year-old Moore, Billy Preston and Eric Clapton, that received a Grammy nomination.
In February 2009, Sam Moore filed suit against Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the producers of the film Soul Men, a comedy starring Bernie Mac, claiming the film was based on the careers of Sam And Dave. To make matters worse, after the movie finished its domestic theatrical run on February 5th of '09, the film's gross was just over $12 million, which qualified it as a total flop.
On November 22, 2013, Moore performed in Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, at the tribute concert for Country star George Jones. In August, 2014 he teamed up with Bluegrass group Nu-Blu to record a tribute to Jones called, "Jesus and Jones", which received extensive air-play on many major radio stations. During the year, he appeared on several U.S. TV shows.
For more, be sure to read Gary James' interview with Sam Moore