85. Sam Cooke – ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ (1964)

“I go to the movies, and I go downtown
Somebody keeps telling me, don’t hang around
It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know
A change is gonna come”

Written by Sam Cooke

Produced by Hugo Peretti/Luigi Creatore

Taken from the album Ain’t That Good News

Also released on Portrait Of A Legend: 1951-1964

US #31

I don’t know if you heard about it or whatever but in November 2008, the United States elected a new President, and along with being by far the most appealing US President yet elected during my lifetime (admittedly there have only been three others), he was a black man, which was a huge symbolic leap for race relations. I was desperately unemployed at the time of the 2008 election and so I followed it obsessively at home, on TV and on the internet and was filled with such excitement and hope when Obama won. The big buzz word surrounding him was change. Change, change, change.

Around this time, the amazing Seal released a song called ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ from his covers album Soul, which I thought was AMAZING, and inspired me to seek out the original version by Sam Cooke, which was DOUBLE AMAZING. The song has become a symbol of the Civil Rights movement in the sixties, and has come to be an anthem for change and hope ever since. After winning the election, Barack Obama famously stated “It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, change has come to America”.

Sam’s voice on here is out of this world, completely perfect, soaring on all the right notes and carrying the weight of the world on it’s shoulders. It isn’t just a legendary protest song, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ is also an essential soul recording, an indispensable part of American R&B history. It made music history and world history, yet ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ has never lost any of it’s power under the weight of acclaim.


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