"A Change is Gonna Come"

By Sam Cooke

Why is this Song Important?

The song is important because it was released in 1964, during that time the United States was in the Civil Rights Movement. The song gave hope for equal rights for all races. He wrote this civil rights anthem in response to Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind." It was perhaps his most pointedly political song.

Facts about Sam Cooke


  • Sometimes referred as the father of soul music, singer Sam Cooke.
  • Born Samuel Cook in Clarksdale, Mississippi, he grew up in Chicago as the son of a minister. Cooke began performing with his family as a child.
  • In his teens, Cooke modeled his early work after one of his greatest inspirations, the Soul Stirrers, a popular gospel group.


-Not long after graduating from high school in 1948, he got the chance of a lifetime: he was asked to join the Soul Stirrers, that would provide him with an opportunity to improve his craft.



  • After six years with the Soul Stirrers, Cooke began to branch out into secular music. -He recorded his first single, 1957's "Lovable," under the pseudonym "Dale Cooke." -Later that year, Cooke released his first number one hit, "You Send Me." Music fans loved this ballad so much that it toppled Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" from the top of the charts. -Before long he put his crystal-clear, velvet-smooth voice to work on such up-tempo tunes as "Only Sixteen" and "Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha."
  • In addition to being a talented singer and songwriter, Cooke had business smarts. He established his own publishing company for his music in 1959 and negotiated an impressive contract with RCA in 1960. -Not only did he get a substantial advance, but Cooke would also get ownership of his master recordings after 30 years.
  • More hits followed Cooke's move to RCA, including 1960's "Chain Gang." Behind the song's catchy rhythm mimicking the sound of prisoners breaking rocks, the song also served as a social commentary by Cooke. He continued to win over fans with a variety of musical styles, from the 1960 ballad "Wonderful World" to the 1962 dance track "Twistin' the Night Away." In 1963, Cooke once again charted with his ode to loneliness, "Another Saturday Night."
  • December 11, 1964 Sam Cooke died of Justifiable homicide.
  • Thousands mourned after his death.

Sam Cooke died 11 days before its release.

The Lyrics

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I've been running ever since
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living but I'm afraid to die
Cause I don't know what's up there beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me don't hang around
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say brother help me please
But he winds up knocking me
Back down on my knees

Ohhhhhhhhh.....

There 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, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.

By Gillian

Works Cited

Flanagan, Bill. "Bill Flanagan 'A Change Is Gonna Come.'" CBS. N.p., n.d. Web.
24 Mar. 2015. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/
bill-flanagan-on-a-change-is-gonna-come/>.


"Sam Cooke." Biography.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.biography.com/people/sam-cooke-9256129#early-life>