Sam Moore and Dave Prater made for one of the most successful Soul acts of the 1960s, racking up a string of hard-grooving hits with a tag-team vocal style that owed a debt to the church music both men had grown up singing.
Solo performers at the outset, the two southerners – Moore from Florida, Prater from Georgia – formed a duo in 1961, after meeting at a club in Miami. After bouncing between various labels and issuing a series of singles that received regional airplay but failed to ignite, the pair’s moment came when they were signed by Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records in 1964, and Wexler sent them to Stax Records in Memphis, to record with the writing and production team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter. In addition to supplying them with songs and pairing them with house band Booker T. and the M.Gs (as well as the Stax horn section, the Mar-Keys), Hayes loosened up the singers’ straight R&B approach, bringing to the fore a wilder, call-and-response style derived from Gospel music.
What followed was a string of smash hits and Soul classics including "You Don't Know Like I Know," "Hold On, I'm Comin'," "You Got Me Hummin'," "Soul Man," and "I Thank You." The pair put 10 straight singles in the Top 20, while earning a reputation as a powerhouse live act (and the nickname “Double Dynamite”). The hits slowed toward the end of the decade, and in 1970 the pair – who had a legendary animosity toward each other, and went long stretches without speaking offstage – broke up. Neither gained traction as a solo artist, however, and a year later they were back together.
For the next decade they performed and recorded together sporadically. They got a profile boost in 1979 when the Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) had a hit with a version of “Soul Man,” but finally called it quits for good in 1981. The following year Prater teamed up with another Sam, Sam Daniels, and for years toured under the name Sam and Dave (or as “The New Sam and Dave Revue”), despite Moore’s objections (and a legal action). That came to an end when Prater was killed in a car accident in 1988. Sam Moore has continued to perform and record as a solo act.