DREAM BOOGIE: THE TRIUMPH OF SAM COOKE
Little, Brown and Company
1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
$16.99 U.S./$21.99 Canada
Rating: 4 Cups
Sam Cooke was a member of the Soul Stirrers, a legendary gospel group, and his mesmerizing songs had a way of capturing a huge audience. Known as the singer of Cupid, Chain Gang, Twistin’ the Night Away, and You Send Me, the remarkable singer’s tragic death left America not only sad, but also stunned at his unfortunate death. Many did not understand how he could move from gospel singing into Rhythm and Blues. Even though he found himself under much scrutiny by some, his achievements made him a popular star.
Sam was an intricate man who enjoyed family, life, and music. To his family, he was a saint-type figure. Always a good Christian man, he was considered the good guy always. So why would someone wish to bring him harm? That is still an unanswered question by many. But even famous men have bouts that can bring on different sides. One is only human, no matter what his goals turn out to be in life. And Sam, even though a good man, had some family issues; love and losses, that had to be worked out.
Sam was only 33 when he was shot down in his hotel room in Los Angeles, in 1964, and years later his death still puzzles people. In Dream Boogie, his friends and associates talk candidly about the man and his music. Even Barbara, Sam’s widow, who never seemed to be taken serious and allowed to speak on the subject, is able to express her words about her deceased husband, their marriage, and his life in general. His tragic death and the surrounding events even made it hard for her to find closure, something she desperately needed. At least Mr. Guralnick allows her to speak from her heart things that long needed to be voiced.
Dream Boogie is more than just a story of one man and his music; it is a lifetime of memories that will carry the reader into an intriguing life of a delightful singer. From the many stories of his life, until the day he died, Sam Cooke was a remarkable human being. Peter Guralnick dramatically weaves the life and loves of Sam Cooke by incorporating a wonderful saga and tribute to the soul of music. The way he told the story, I was almost transported into the life right along with Sam. It was indeed tragic for the world to lose such an outstanding musical artist, but Mr. Guralnick makes Sam’s music and life live on in this amazing dedication of a music legend. From other greats such as the Platters, Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, and Aretha Franklin, just to name a few, the reader learns why Sam Cooke was appreciated and loved by all, not only in the music world, but in the world around him.
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