Sam Cooke – A change is gonna come
Did this song ever sound as sweet as it does today after Barack Obama’s victory? I love this song for it’s positivity in the face of despicable oppression and injustice. It’s a protest song, in support of the civil rights movement, which he was inspired to write after hearing Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind. Amazed that a white man had written such a song he was determined to also have a go at the topic so close to his heart. Obviously his own experiences lend the song extra gravity and the heart-breaking strings throughout the track remind the listener of the seriousness and difficulties expressed in the song.
The following extract from Wikipedia explains a little more of the background to the song;
The song, very much a departure for Cooke, reflected two major incidents in his life. The first was the death of Cooke’s eighteen-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.”
At times it’s hard not to have watery eyes listening to this song. At least today, finally, they can be tears of joy.