J’s Record Stories – Sam Cooke Passes on ‘Travelin’ Man’
Songwriter Jerry Fuller wrote the song “Travelin’ Man” in about 20 minutes while sitting in a park. One of his favorite artists was Sam Cooke, who he had in mind as he wrote the song. He took it to Cooke’s manager and left it there. The manager tossed it away after listening to it. Not good enough for Sam Cooke, he thought. That should probably be the end of the story until…. The office next door to Sam’s manager belonged to Imperial Records President, Lou Chudd. He heard it through the wall and went to ask if he could hear it again. “You can have it”, Cooke’s manager said as he pulled it from the trash.
The rest is history. It went on to be one of Ricky Nelsons biggest hits. In fact, it was a two-sided hit with “Hello Mary Lou” on the “B” side.