Oldie of the Week: ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ (1964) Sam Cooke


It’s not often that I can claim that Oxford’s nightclubs have been founts of benevolent inspiration for me. However, The Michaelmas Term iteration of The Oxford Soul Train last week left me once again at the mercy at The King Of Soul himself, Sam Cooke. Inspired by the American Civil Rights movement, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ rings out (with the benefit of hindsight) like a victory ode in honour of all those who fought bravely for justice. Cooke’s legend as a lyricist is only surpassed by the raw strength of his vocal delivery; just listen to the opening moments of ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ for a perfect encapsulation of his signature style – pure, guileless, and startlingly bold-faced. It’s been over 50 years since his sudden death at the age of 33, and we’re still waiting to hear another like him.

“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 time, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, Oh yes it will.”



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