Domingo "Sam" Samudio was born in Dallas on March 6th, 1937 to Spanish-speaking parents of Mexican descent. One of three children, Samudio was primarily raised by his father due to the untimely passing of his mother.
He began singing in the second grade when he was chosen to represent his school in a live radio performance, and began playing the guitar several years later. Following graduation, Samudio joined the Navy and lived in Panama for six years. During his deployment, Samudio often acted as the M.C. during dances and became a crowd favorite due to his onstage antics.
In 1961, Samudio returned home to Texas and enrolled in music history courses at UT Arlington. "I was studying classical in the daytime and playing rock and roll at night," he recalled to Texas Monthly. Inspired by the costumes worn in the film The Ten Commandments, Samudio named his first band the Pharaohs and they adopted the flamboyant style of the Egyptians in the movie. Although this original iteration of the Pharaohs would prove to be short-lived, the ideas that they established laid a foundation for the musical sounds to come.