Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke

Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke

Peter Guralnick / Oct 17, 2019

Dream Boogie The Triumph of Sam Cooke One of the 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

  • Title: Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke
  • Author: Peter Guralnick
  • ISBN: 9780316013291
  • Page: 168
  • Format: Paperback
  • One of the 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 capOne of the 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.

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    About "Peter Guralnick"

      • Peter Guralnick

        Peter Guralnick is an American music critic, writer on music, and historian of US American popular music, who is also active as an author and screenwriter He has been married for over 45 years to Alexandra He has a son and daughter, Jacob and Nina.Guralnick s first two books, Almost Grown 1964 and Mister Downchild 1967 , were short story collections published by Larry Stark, whose small press in Cambridge, Larry Stark Press, was devoted to stories and poems Mona Dickson, writing in MIT s The Tech May 13, 1964 gave Almost Grown a favorable review.After Guralnick graduated from Boston University in 1971 with a master s degree in creative writing, he began writing books chronicling the history of blues, country, rock and roll and soul.His two volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis in 1994, followed by Careless Love in 1999, placed the story of Presley s career into a rise and fall arc Encompassing than 1,300 pages including 1,150 pages of text , the work countered earlier biographies such as Albert Goldman s Elvis from 1981 with an in depth, scholarly examination of Presley s life and music Guralnick had previously written on Presley in the The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock Roll, starting with the first edition in 1976, said article having been reprinted for each subsequent edition.Larry Stark Press published Peter Guralnick s second book in 1967 A first edition is currently valued at 200.In contrast to contemporaries such as Lester Bangs, Ian Penman and Nick Tosches, whose music writings are marked by idiosyncratic, self referential and highly personal styles, Guralnick s writing is characterized by a colloquial approach that is clean and understated by comparison In his best passages, he has an ability to simultaneously empathize and remain objective Writing as a music fan, his enthusiasm powers his writing but doesn t overpower it.Guralnick wrote the script for AE s documentary, Sam Phillips The Man Who Invented Rock n Roll, narrated by Billy Bob Thornton, and he also scripted Sam Cooke Legend, narrated by Jeffrey Wright.


    691 Comments

    1. My heart sank when I first cracked open this book and saw how small the print was, because I knew it would take a while to plow through and, you know, so many books, so little time, right? But the actual text was only (ha! only!) 650 pages, followed by 100 pages of voluminous notes, bibliography and index, so it wasn't as bad as I first thought.And I really wanted to read it, because I'm a fan and because I could never reconcile how a man who seemed so polished and accomplished wound up dying su [...]


    2. this book not only gave a good look at the life of sam cooke, but also the black gospel music "quartet" movement and the story behind how of many of these gospel stars moved on to soul, rock and roll, r&b careersm cooke was to be commended for demanding more ownership of his work and for starting a record company long before most other african american singers.


    3. First let me say this is not for everyone. An extremely thick book (from memory about 800 pages) on a subject who hardly seems known at all except through the Obama election campaign. Sam Cooke? Even to me, a musician and lover of Stax Records and early rock 'n' roll, the name conjured only dim recollections: of 'You Send Me' in a TV icecream advertisement when I was young, of 'Beautiful World' ('Don't know much about history') in the film Animal House with John Belushi, of Otis Redding's versio [...]


    4. The most comprehensive autobiography I have read. Guralnick doesn't just go into Cooke's roots but paints a detailed back drop of the American gospel scene and Chicago RnB in general, very very good.


    5. It’s taken me a while to read Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick, but that time is not a reflection on the quality of this biography, but due to poor time management skills, and my own writing endeavors, that took precedent after I had started reading this book.During my late Teens, when I had finally opened my musical horizons, understanding there was more to the world of music than my limited rock ‘n’ roll favorites at the time; a friend introduced me to Sam Cooke [...]


    6. Too many names and side stories. I wanted to read Sam Cooke's story. What I got was a well-researched treatise on the gospel music groups in the Chicago area while Sam was coming up. I'm sure those groups deserve their due but I found the details about all these other groups distracting and, boring. It's Sam Cooke's music I dig and Sam's name is on the cover, tell me more of HIS story. I put the book down after 157 pages. Ugh.


    7. I knew the tragic ending was coming but I was still stunned and saddened when it came. Cooke accomplished so much both as a musician and as a businessman and community leader before his death in a pointless and avoidable nightmare. He had just finished some of his best work and was boldly charting new directions -- his plans included an album of hard core blues and an album of ragtime era pop songs by black composers. He also had his finger in the wind and his ear to the ground: he was close to [...]


    8. The reviews of this book suggests a definitive assessment of Sam Cooke’s life, but overall it is simply a weighty tome of poorly sourced, regurgitated rumors, old information, misspelled names, and dialogue and thoughts by principals made up from whole cloth. If the reader is completely new to the subject of Sam Cooke then perhaps it will not be a total waste of time, or money. However, for those familiar with his story the only passion this book engenders is irritation. It seems to be nothing [...]


    9. This book is extensive. I almost know too much about Sam Cooke after reading all 600 some pages. Rather, I know more than I wanted to know about everyone else in his circle from the time he was born. But I do love when Guralnick takes a detour to talk about other musicians like Jackie Wilson or Little Richard. Some of the stories from these package tours they went on are just unreal. There's also really good research into more obscure musicians, dee jays, and behind the scene players.I've always [...]


    10. His two volume set about Elvis was fantastic, but this is probably Guralnick's best work. Cooke's smooth voice belied a complex and complicated man, and Guralnick captures that existential struggle without ever being half as pretentious as this sentence.


    11. Very good and insightful book. Its an untold story on the Harlem Renaissance from Sam's perspective.



    12. Peter Guralnick knows how to tell the history of a life, and Dream Boogie is a well-written account not just of Sam Cooke but of the history of popular music at perhaps its most significant stage. The author details the coming together - forced to varying degrees from the circumstance of segregation - of gospel and blues, art and commerce, glamour and shabbiness. Guralnick brings the glamour-and-shabbiness combination to vivid perspective in particular: while on tour and "Wonderful World" is hig [...]


    13. I was a big fan of Gurlanick's books on Elvis, and I heard him talking about Cooke's "Change is Gonna Come" single on one of those NPR segments about single songs that are important for some reason. And since then, the idea of reading this book has kind of simmered, and since I've been summered, I thought I'd give it a shot.I didn't think as much of it as I did the Elvis books-- I don't feel like Gurlanick really penetrated the core of Cooke's psyche as well as he did Elvis, whatever that means, [...]


    14. Sam possesses one of my all time favorite voices. There was just a pureness and clean smooth delivery with the lines he sang and the emotion he brought to each lyric. To me it seems like he never made a bad choice with every note he sang and the way he chose to phrase it. I am a huge fan, so when my friend bought me this book I was really interested to learn more about him.I started reading this book a couple of years ago and had a hard time getting into it. At times it feels like an encyclopedi [...]


    15. If you've read Guralnick's two volume Elvis biography (and you absolutely must) then you know the author is nothing but thorough in dealing with his subjects. Dream Boogie is no different as Guralnick takes the reader on an almost day by day journey of Sam Cooke's life over the course of six hundred plus pages. If you are like myself and have trouble remembering loads of characters this can get a bit confusing and it can become easy to get bogged down in the petty details but if you let yourself [...]


    16. I enjoyed the Sam Cooke story and the history around his placein the musical era that became rock 'n roll. The author does agood & thorough, job telling us about Sam, and also delves intothe savage machinations of the music industry - how you can havea hit record and only make a few bucks. Other music groups andartists also get a lot of attention, some of the fun is the namedropping, Sony Bono as an intern, Gladys Knight a 15 year old onthe road, Jimi Hendrix wanting, and not getting, a back [...]


    17. Peter Guralnick is one of the very best rock biographers. I have read a few of Peter's books with his two part Elvis biograpy (of which I only read the first volume. I hear that, in the second half of the book Elvis life does not turn out so well). "Dream Boogie" has got to be the definitive biography of a man who, at the time of his death, was arguably the biggest black recording artist in the world. (You can make an argument for Ray Charles too but Sam was at least his equal in popularity). "D [...]


    18. I'm giving this book 4 stars inseated of 5, because although it's an excellent book, you dont need it in order to get the most out of Sam's music. In fact some parts of it, especially those relating to Sam's dealings with women, might actually put you off the man and his (to me, outstanding) work. It's very strong on the business and financial side of things - a niche readership for that I would have thought. If you're interested in the civil rights movement of the 60s, the supporting cast looms [...]


    19. Guralnick, the veteran music biographer best known for his two-volume study of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, combines meticulous research with a passion for his subject in the most complete and insightful biography of Cooke to date. Critics roundly praise the depth of Guralnick's reporting and his willingness to track down previously unused sources (the book was more than a decade in the making), though some comment that the author's exhaustive attention to detail at ti [...]


    20. Gets a lot of points for being exhaustive (the book doesn't cover every song he did as much as it covers every recording session he ever did, with critique--which is awesome,) and reporting neutrally; on the latter, I mean that it never tries to speculate on a motive for Sam Cooke acting the way he does, at least up until his death. This wasn't a book like The Executioner's Song, where removing the authorial presence is the only way to process information, but it's cool that the book assumes you [...]


    21. It's awfully long, but for a book this thoroughly researched and detailed, surprisingly readable. It's not dry and boring, at least not for the most part. It's easy to get lost in the maze of managers, promoters, distributors, agents, producers, musicians, bandleaders, etc. covered in the book. (One thing I found confusing: J.W. Alexander is a prominent figure. Sometimes he's referred to as Alexander. Sometimes as J.W. Sometimes as Alex.) Also, I was surprised that Guralnick didn't spend more ti [...]


    22. Mostly I just skipped around to the stuff I wanted to know about--didn't really read it all straight through. Love Sam Cooke's music, especially "A Change is Gonna Come" and "Twisting the Night Away." He had a wonderful voice and sense of style. Too bad he couldn't keep his personal life under control or he might have gone on to do even greater things. Didn't know that he was RCA's 2nd biggest seller after Elvis. Never heard the details of how he died either--just a waste of a great talent. So m [...]


    23. I wanted to learn more about music icon Sam Cooke. I came to the book already a fan with some understanding of his life, death, and times, and certainly a deep appreciation for his music. I wish I had seen him perform. This biography told me more than I ever wanted to know about the intricacies of the music business at the time, and less than I hoped about the person, Sam Cooke. Other than repeating the he was elusive and detached, and gossiping about his many lovers and his relationship with hi [...]


    24. I was very excited to read a galley copy of this book prior to its release, as Sam Cooke is one of my favorite singers. The first chapter was exceptionally well written. At the subsequent chapters, the book falls off a cliff! I wondered if the author was even the same. Despite a clear lack of source material particular to Cooke himself in his early years, the author gives a full picture of the gospel and travelling music groups in which Cooke participated, that were popular at the time. But the [...]


    25. to be honest, i scarcely read this book. it was a tome, and there were just too many minutia of sam cooke's life. i skimmed the section about his growing up in mississippi and chicagoe description of what the gospel music scene/emerging rock scene was like at that time was interesting; the influx of african-americans from the south and it's baptist tradirtions into urban centres in the north and it's affect on music: but that was about a paragraph. then i jumped to the details of his sketchy mur [...]


    26. Although Sam Cooke's life was amazing to me and interesting; some spots in this book dragged. I enjoyed reading of how his personality appealed to so many. He seemed like an easy going guy which made him likable. He had his faults which made his life more dimensional to me. Some sections in this book was a lot of back story that didn't seem needed. It made me lose focus and want to put the book down sometimes. I didn't because I wanted to know what was going to happen next to Sam Cooke. All in a [...]


    27. You'd better either love Sam Cooke to pieces or adore attention to detail for this read. The level of detail was almost painful at times, but it was a well researched book. I definitely thought I was a Sam Cooke fan, but after reading both Elvis bios by the same author, I came to quickly realize I didn't know nearly what I thought. It was a little tiresome at times, but after two years, I am glad to be done with this monster read!


    28. Every night when I pick this book up, I wonder if Mr. Cooke has sired any more illegitimate children while I was away.This is an interesting look into the music business of the late fifties and sixties, giving the reader a tour of the difficulties faced by African American singers, songwriters, and musicians. I don't necessarily feel like I am peeking into Mr. Cooke's soul, and there are not a lot of first person accounts presented in the pages, but I am enjoying it nonetheless.


    29. Sam Cooke has always been my favorite musical artist. The book just justified my opinion. Of course, there was the bad side of him as there is a bad side to everyone. The book also helped me understand why folks say rock in roll came out of gospel singing - they just changed the lyrics to some of them. Enlightening facts.


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