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“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

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“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

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“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke


     
 

song info

    “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke is a soul and R&:B song.
    Sam Cooke wrote this song in response to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Sam Cooke said, “Jeez, a white boy writing a song like that?” The lyrics in the third verse refer to October 8, 1963, when Sam Cooke and his entourage were arrested for disturbing the peace while on tour when attempting to register at a white hotel in Shreveport, Louisiana.
    The song was released two weeks after Sam Cooke was shot to death at the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California.
    Orchestral arrangement by Rene Hall.

    Song Title: A Change Is Gonna Come
    Artist: Sam Cooke
    Album: Ain’t That Good News
    Genre: soul R&:B
    Composer: Copyright © 1963 Sam Cooke
    Lead Vocals: Sam Cooke
    Drums: Earl Palmer
    Producer: Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore
    Recorded: December 21, 1963, RCA Studios, Los Angeles, California
    Engineer: David Hassinger
    Released: December 22, 1964 (single) B-side of “Shake”
    Label: RCA Victor

    The song was voted number 3 in the webzine Pitchfork Media’s The 200 Greatest Songs of the 60s. The song is also among three hundred songs deemed the most important ever recorded by National Public Radio (NPR) and was selected by the Library of Congress as one of twenty-five selected recordings to the National Recording Registry as of March 2007. The song is currently ranked as the 95th greatest song of all time, as well as the seventh best song of 1965, by Acclaimed Music.

    Rolling Stone Top 500: A Change Is Gonna Come was selected number twelve (12) in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in May 2011. See Rolling Stone.

    Number of listens: 6742
    Current rank: 1174 (updated weekly)
    Highest rank: 1020 (play the video all the way through to register a vote for this song)

    
    U.S. Billboard Hot 100: peak #31, 7 weeks, 1965
    R&B: peak #9 (nine), 1965
     Billboard chart listings courtesy of Billboard Magazine

Translations courtesy of Apple and Google.

 
     

    Summary quotation from Wikipedia:

    “A Change Is Gonna Come” is a 1964 single by R&B singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, written and first recorded in 1963 and released under the RCA Victor label shortly after his death in late 1964. Though only a modest hit for Cooke in comparison with his previous singles, the song came to exemplify the 1960s’ Civil Rights Movement. The song has gained in popularity and critical acclaim in the decades since its release, and is #12 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Origins

    Upon hearing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in 1963, Cooke was greatly moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. While on tour in May 1963, and after speaking with sit-in demonstrators in Durham, North Carolina following a concert, Cooke returned to his tour bus and wrote the first draft of what would become “A Change Is Gonna Come”. The song also reflected much of Cooke’s own inner turmoil. Known for his polished image and light-hearted songs such as “You Send Me” and “Twistin’ the Night Away”, he had long felt the need to address the situation of discrimination and racism in America. However, his image and fears of losing his largely white fan base prevented him from doing so.

    The song, very much a departure for Cooke, reflected two major incidents in his life. The first was the death of Cooke’s 18-month-old son, Vincent, who died of an accidental drowning in June of that year. The second major incident came on October 8, 1963, when Cooke and his band tried to register at a “whites only” motel in Shreveport, Louisiana and were summarily arrested for disturbing the peace. Both incidents are represented in the weary tone and lyrics of the piece, especially the final verse: There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long/but now I think I’m able to carry on/It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.

Recording

    After remaining confined to Cooke’s notebooks for months of touring, “A Change Is Gonna Come” was finally recorded on December 21, 1963. Recording took place at the RCA Studios in Los Angeles, California during sessions for Cooke’s 1964 album, Ain’t That Good News.

    According to author Peter Guralnick’s biography of Cooke, “Dream Boogie”, Cooke gave arranger Rene Hall free rein on the song’s musical arrangement. Hall came up with a dramatic orchestral backing highlighted by a mournful French horn. For his vocal, Cooke reached back to his gospel roots to sing the song with an intensity and passion never heard before on his pop recordings.

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most recent comment

    Shu: A Change Is Gonna Come is Tarik’s favorite song.

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