From the acclaimed author of Last Train to Memphis, this is the definitive biography of Sam Cooke, one of most influential singers and songwriters of all time.
Sam Cooke was among the first to blend gospel music and secular themes -- the early foundation of soul music. He was the opposite of Elvis: a black performer who appealed to white audiences, who wrote his own songs, who controlled his own business destiny.
No biography has previously been written that fully captures Sam Cooke's accomplishments, the importance of his contribution to American music, the drama that accompanied his rise in the early days of the civil rights movement, and the mystery that surrounds his death. Bestselling author Peter Guralnick tells this moving and significant story, from Cooke's childhood as a choirboy to an adulthood when he was anything but.
With appearances by Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, James Brown, Harry Belafonte, Aretha Franklin, Fidel Castro, The Beatles, Sonny and Cher, Bob Dylan, and other central figures of this explosive era, Dream Boogie is a compelling depiction of one man striving to achieve his vision despite all obstacles -- and an epic portrait of America during the turbulent and hopeful 1950s and 1960s. The triumph of the book is the vividness with which Peter Guralnick conveys the astonishing richness of the black America of this era -- the drama, force, and feeling of the story.
There's no real substitute for the sound of Sam Cooke's music, but the detailed descriptions of his recordings throughout this masterful biography are the next best thing to wearing headphones while you read. Guralnick's first book after a two-volume bio of Elvis honors Cooke's (1931 1964) musical genius, especially his ability to grasp the changing music scene of the late 1950s and early '60s. For those who only know the singer through his pop hits "You Send Me"; "Twistin' the Night Away" the extensive account of his childhood background in gospel music will prove fascinating, and the evocation of the harsh realities faced by African-American musicians touring the South a powerful reminder of just how explosive this music could be. Yet wide-ranging interviews reveal that behind Cooke's talent and energetic vocal style, many of his peers in the music biz saw a more troubling personality. The biography does not judge, but neither does it hold back on recounting Cooke's ruthless interactions with record companies or the deep rifts in his marriage to his former childhood sweetheart. Guralnick's revelation of the complicated man behind the music ultimately enables readers to rediscover songs like "A Change Is Gonna Come" as even more remarkable than before. Photos.
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Loved this book
If you're fan of soul music and Sam Cooke, you seriously need this book. An in-depth bio of a truly remarkable artist and one of a kind original.
I'd highly recommend picking up the Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend CD (for which un-coincidentally, Peter Guralnick also wrote the introduction in the liner notes) before reading this book because you will be on a serious Sam Cooke kick for months and will want this music readily available.