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#58: Sam Cooke ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’

sam_cooke_mic.jpg If there was ever an anthem for the times that we are living in now, it is Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." Although the song exemplified the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, with the possibility of the next President of the United States being either a Black man or a woman, it is quite applicable to today. When Cooke recorded the song in 1963 he probably didn't--and couldn't--envision this world, but here we are. A change is definitely happening.

Considered one of the founding fathers of modern soul music, Cooke wrote and recorded "A Change Is Gonna Come" after hearing Bob Dylan's protest song "Blowin' in the Wind" and as a response to the racism and discrimination that he faced everyday. The song's orchestration matched the drama of the lyrics that he wrapped his gospel trained vocals so effortlessly around. It's unfathomable that this song didn't chart any higher than #9 on the R&B tally and fared even worse on the Pop Top 40 by stalling at #31. However, in the decades since its release it has been considered an American classic. A laundry list of performers have done covers of the tune, but, quite honestly, no one can touch the raw emotion and passion of Sam's original.

Sam Cooke: "A Change Is Gonna Come"


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10 Responses

  1. I REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW 'IF YOU DON'T KNOW ME BY NOW' AND ' A CHANGE IS GONNA COME' ARE NOT IN THE TOP 20.

  2. I still get chills everytime I hear this song...

  3. This should be numero uno!

  4. This song is way toooooo low! It should be in the top 10.

  5. This is a not only a seminal piece of soul, but MUSIC history. Easily a Top 10 candidate for your list. This encompasses Cooke's legacy and the Civil Rights Movement. These rankings just lost all credibility.

  6. Love the blog BUT Sam Cooke's song predates Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind', Sam could not have been inspired by Dylan, if anything it was the other way around.

  7. No, Butta is right about the influence for this song coming from hearing Bob Dylans Blowing In the Wind and thinking a black man should be writing something like that. Blowing came out in '63 and Change came out in '64. It's on Wikik - which we all know can be unreliable - but also if anyone watched the Soul Deep series on VH1 Soul they spoke about it.

  8. Whoooa!
    This song is waaaaay toooo low.
    I'm scared now.
    Please don't tell me that Usher's "Love in This Club" is going to be the No. 1 song on this list.
    Ha! I'm only joking.
    But this song is way too low.

  9. Gavin DeGraw covered "A Change is Gonna Come" on hi Chariot: Stripped cd.
    Gavin "Whitebread" DeGraw, covered this song, man! Along with plenty other whitebreads who've attempted to tackle the Cooke. Terence Trent D'Arby sounds likes an extension of the legend. With that said, I too agree, that this song should be higher on the list. It is soul. It is Civil Rights. It is "era". It is Black. It is Americana circa the 60s. Sam Cooke = total legend.

  10. this song people could relate 2 cuz it is real



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