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Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke Paperback – September 5, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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. (Oct. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The New Yorker
Until Sam Cooke was shot dead in a Los Angeles motel, in 1964, at the age of thirty-three, his life had been an ascending series of crossover moves: he conquered the postwar gospel-music scene, scored bigger hits by moving into secular rhythm and blues, and then, after signing with R.C.A., in 1960, proceeded to go pop, and released a string of smooth, catchy singles that placed him on the cusp of mainstream superstar status. Guralnick, as in his biography of Elvis Presley, displays a feel for the culture that gave rise to the musician, and his account is a revelatory portrait of the rough-and-tumble yet familial world of black show business before and during the civil-rights era. In darker corners lurk the antecedents of today's gangster-rap subcultureracketeers who funded black record labels and tour packages, and performers like Johnny (Guitar) Watson, who made more as a pimp than he did singing.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't personally like the current trend in book publishing of scattering pictures throughout the book instead of having them in a single, easily accessable, location for reference, or, conversely, of putting all footnotes in the back of the book without even noting them in the text, but that's a very minor criticism and I loved the Discography at the end and have ordered a couple of gospel and pop CD's for traveling!
A great read for anyone who loves the music and wants to know more about the entertainer, businessman and loyal friend that was Sam Cooke.
The majority of quotes seem to come from the same sibling too, so pretty one-sided.
Cooke was a trailblazer in the music industry: Like Ray Charles, he transformed gospel to pop music. He wrote the bulk of his own material-which to me is the mark of a total recording artist, transcending singing. Lastly, Cooke was one of the first artists who took total control of the business end of his career and cut out a lot of the middlemen who profit off the talent of others.
The book does everything a biography is supposed to do and more. It carefully researches the details of Sam Cooke's life and shocking and controversial death. It also offers insight into Sam's motivations, artistry and tragic flaws.