Song of the Day Jan 13
January 13, 2024
This month I’m focusing on some great hits from the 60s.
Today our song is: A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke
Wikipedia tells us this about the song:
On October 8, 1963, en route to Shreveport, Louisiana, Cooke called ahead to the Holiday Inn North to make reservations for his wife, Barbara, and himself, but when he and his group arrived, the desk clerk glanced nervously and explained there were no vacancies. While his brother Charles protested, Sam was furious, yelling to see the manager and refusing to leave until he received an answer. His wife nudged him, attempting to calm him down, telling him, "They'll kill you," to which he responded, "They ain't gonna kill me, because I'm Sam Cooke." When they eventually persuaded Cooke to leave, the group drove away calling out insults and blaring their horns. When they arrived at the Castle Motel on Sprague Street downtown, the police were waiting for them, arresting them for disturbing the peace. The New York Times ran a UPI report the next day, headlined "Negro Band Leader Held in Shreveport," but African-Americans were outraged. In 2019, then-Shreveport mayor Adrian Perkins apologized to Cooke's family for the event, and posthumously awarded Cooke the key to the city.
In addition, 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, and was also ashamed he had not yet written something like that himself. However, his image and fears of losing his large white fan base had prevented him from doing so. Cooke loved Dylan's song so much it was immediately incorporated into his repertoire. He was further influenced by the message of the dream in Martin Luther King Jr's I Have a Dream speech at the civil rights march on Washington that year. Toward the end of 1963, according to Cooke, the Change composition came to him in a dream.