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Peter Guralnick: Dream Boogie – The Triumph of Sam Cooke (Little, Brown)

Robert Sandall, Sunday Times, 1 January 2006

SAM COOKE WAS the first black American pop superstar. By 1962, the year of his biggest British hit, 'Twistin' the Night Away', he was the RCA label's biggest seller after Elvis Presley. The world heavyweight champion Cassius Clay hailed him, in one of his own press conferences, as "the greatest rock'n'roll singer in the world". Rosa Parks, the black civil-rights activist, said that listening to Cooke "was like medicine to the soul. It was as if Martin Luther King was talking to you".

Total word count of piece: 929

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