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Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke Paperback – 2 Nov 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (2 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349119481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349119489
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 4.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Guralnick is the paramount historian of American vernacular music (New Yorker)

Masterly ... Guralnick captures [Cooke's] turbulent times as adroitly as he celebrates his brief, brilliant life (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

The definitive account of one of soul's greatest figures by one of the the great music writers of our time.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As you might expect from Elvis Presley's definitive biographer, this tale of one of soul music's pioneers can be highly recommended. I haven't reread the earlier biography of Sam Cooke, Daniel Wolff's You Send Me, since its publication ten years ago, but my impression is that that Guralnick's account is more vivid, taking into account a wider range of points of view.
Be warned that the Sam Cooke who emerges in these pages is not a wholly likeable character, though if he seems more elusive than Guralnick's earlier subject that is, perhaps, intrinsic to the man rather than any failing on the author's part. His widow, Barbara, features prominently: a childhood sweetheart whom he eventually married in order not to lose his daughter to another man, she seems to have been the victim of the introspection and anger concealed from others in his compartmentalised life. A frequent theme of many, less close, interviewees is the charm he exerted which made them feel the sole focus of his attention during a conversation, though many seem to stumble when trying to define that appeal more precisely.
This is not a sensational book, though it doesn't flinch from describing Cooke's sexual adventures. But finally it's the music that is left and it's clear that Cooke, despite his boundless professional self-assurance, was always pushing himself, always trying to develop further.
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Format: Hardcover
How do you write about a man who for all intents and purposes was many men ? I have read Daniel Wolfes You Send Me and Erik Greens Our Uncle Sam and they all paint a different picture of this unique individual. One of my qualms with this book is the way Peter Guralnic rushes through the murder of Sam Cooke . For somebody with his reputation for investigative journalism I was disappointed that he seemed to accept as fact many thing that were to say the least strange . For instance he states that Sams fingers and nails were ragged and broken and probably his arms were broken . How does that happen to a young man wrestling with a woman almost twice his age . The police record with which Guralnic seems to concur is to say the least improbable . While nobody expects Sams family to agree with the sordid official details of his death one can sympathise with them as his legacy is soiled with his final deeds in this life . Peter Guralnic said he was told lots of stories as to why Sam Cooke had to die . A couple of instances would not have gone amiss in this book .

I still enjoyed the read but felt the last chapters were rushed almost to the point were they let the rest of the book down.
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Format: Paperback
Following Guralnick's two-volume account of Elvis Presley's rise and fall comes this biography of Sam Cook(e) which has 650 pages of text and a further 100 pages of notes, acknowledgements and index. This weighty tome traces Sam's life from his childhood in Chicago, to singing with the gospel groups the Highway QCs and the Soul Stirrers and then cross-over into pop stardom. The sheer size of this book perhaps suggests that Sam Cooke is the black Elvis and, although I don't think that this is necessarily the case, in many ways it could be argued that Sam is a greater artist than Elvis in that he wrote many of his own songs, took control of his own career, had his own record label and produced his own and other peoples' records.

Once again Guralnick seamlessly weaves together a chronological, extremely detailed account of all Sam's tours, recording sessions, financial dealings etc etc with comments from his friends, backing musicians, music industry players and other stars. For a book about a `mere pop singer' this is as scholarly and well-researched as any biography of a politician or author. Although I've read many accounts of R&B stars on the chitlin' circuit (and with his crossover into secular music that is what the early part of Cooke's pop career became) what was a real revelation to me were the stories of his tours on the gospel circuit and how these differed from the pop tours, and how they were the same - groupies! Sam's climb to success in the late 50s and early 60s also coincided with the fight for civil rights and that fight, and Sam's involvement in the movement, is also clearly evoked in the book.
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Format: Paperback
Dream Boogie is a masterpiece, while telling the story of the fantastic Sam Cooke
the author opens the curtains on the beginning of rock & roll. Through Sam's early years with The Soul Stirrers and the gospel scene up to his solo career in LA
we are introduced to many of the characters who shaped the music industry and also to many of it's early stars.As soon as I finished the book I started again from the beginning, anybody who loves black music or rock & roll or is interested in the history of both should read this beautifully written and researched work.
The best book I have ever read about music.
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