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Song for Sam Cooke


Here in America : Dion featuring Paul Simon

This time it was Dion (formerly of Dion and the Belmonts) who was the lone white star in a sea of r&b talent that included twenty-two-year-old Atlantic recording artist Solomon Burke, a warm, charismatic singer just beginning to make a name for himself, the Drifters, Dee Clark, and B.B. King.

For Dion, who had embarked upon a solo career in the fall of 1960 with his appearance on the Biggest Show of Stars tour that briefly included Sam, "it was kind of tense at times," stemming not just from the situation in the South but from the racial attitudes that a number of the r&b musicians had by now, understandably, developed on their own.

"Sam was a kind of champion for...cooling everybody out," said Dion, and, as on the earlier tour, some of Dion's most treasured memories were of singing with Sam backstage -- "he was full of music."

- Peter Guralnick, Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke