Peter Guralnick has been called "a national resource" by Nat Hentoff for work that has argued passionately and persuasively for the vitality of this country's intertwined black and white musical traditions. His books include the prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love. Of the first Bob Dylan wrote, "Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others." Of the biography as a whole, the New York Times Book Review declared in a lead review, "It must be ranked among the most ambitious and crucial biographical undertakings yet devoted to a major American figure of the second half of the twentieth century." Other books include an acclaimed trilogy on American roots music, Sweet Soul Music, Lost Highway, and Feel Like Going Home; Searching for Robert Johnson; and the novel, Nighthawk Blues. Dream Boogie has been hailed by the San Fransisco Chronicle as "monumental, panoramic...an epic tale told against a backdrop of brilliant, shimmering music, intense personal melodrama, and vast social changes." He is currently at work on a biography of Sam Phillips.
After Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, Guralnick revisits the man who gave gospel a secular spin and ended up revolutionizing popular music in the 1950s-60s. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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 hitsA"You Send Me"; "Twistin' the Night Away"Athe 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 2005 Reed Business Information.