A Change is Gonna Come came to exemplify the 1960s’ Civil Rights Movement. Upon hearing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, Sam Cooke was greatly moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. The song also reflected much of Cooke’s own inner turmoil. Known for his polished image and light-hearted songs, he had long felt the need to address the situation of discrimination and racism in USA. However, his image and fears of losing his largely white fan base prevented him from doing so. The song 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. The second 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. The song has gained in popularity and critical acclaim in the decades since its release, and is #12 on Rolling Stone’s500 Greatest Songs of All Time. x
One of my all time favorite songs and singers. I remember the first time I listened to it.