Gospel was one of the most popular musical forms in black communities throughout most of the 1950s, when groups like the Soul Stirrers and the Staples Singers dominated radio and record sales of so-called “race records.” This all changed in the mid ’50s when a popular performer in a gospel group went solo, decided to merge the carnal sounds of rock and roll with the musical traits and tropes of gospel music, and became a huge crossover star. His name was Sam Cooke, and his subsequent chart-smashing success--he founded the first label to deal exclusively in soul music and had 30 pop hits before his death in 1964--forced a lot of gospel groups to have to deal with that old struggle present in so much music of the mid-20th century: Do you take god out of your music and go for the pop glory? Do you stay put and grind it out? Many groups opted for the former, including Ollie & The Nightingales, who started their life as a gospel group called the Dixie Nightingales, and who, at the urging of Stax executive Al Bell, went secular in 1968, and never looked back.