Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" to Receive the Songwriter's Hall of Fame's Towering Song Award

A Change Is Going to Come, one of the most important songs of the civil rights movement, was written by Sam Cooke in 1963 and recorded by him in 1964. Since that time, nearly 500 versions of the song have been recorded by artists from Aretha Franklin to Jon Bon Jovi.

The anthem will receive the Songwriter's Hall of Fame's Towering Song Award at their 2013 ceremony in June. The award is given to "the creator(s) of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years."

Since its release, A Change Is Gonna Come has been named to numerous "greatest songs" lists including Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs where it was number 12, Pitchfork's 200 Greatest Songs of the 60's (number 3) and NPR's list of the most important songs ever recorded.

Cooke wrote the song after hearing Bob Dylan's Blowing in the Wind. Wanting to write a song addressing discrimination and racism in the U.S., he set the lyrics to paper and left them there for many months, afraid that such a song would alienate his white fans.

The song was finally recorded in December 1963 and released on his album Ain't That Good News. Although his management felt that the song was a winner, the record company released Good Times and (Ain't That) Good News as the first two singles from the album, finally putting out Change as the b-side of Shake. The song immediately resonated with the African-American community, but it didn't cross over and peak on the pop charts until after Cooke's death on December 11, 1964.

Over the next four decades, the recording was unavailable due to legal fighting between ABCKO and RCA Records. It finally resurfaced on two Cooke releases in 2003.

A Change is Going to Come joins the following previous winners of the Towering Song Award:

  • 1995 - As Time Goes By
  • 1996 - Happy Birthday To You
  • 1997 - How High the Moon
  • 1998 - The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
  • 1999 - Fly Me to the Moon 
  • 2000 - All of Me
  • 2001 - You Are My Sunshine
  • 2002 - You're a Grand Old Flag
  • 2003 - I Left My Heart in San Francisco
  • 2004 - What the World Needs Now is Love
  • 2005 - You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' 
  • 2006 - When the Saints Go Marching In
  • 2008 - Take Me Out to the Ball Game
  • 2009 - Moon River
  • 2010 - Bridge Over Troubled Waters
  • 2011 - It Was a Very Good Year
  • 2012 - Stand By Me
  • 2013 - A Change is Gonna Come

1 comment

Anonymous said...

the HONEY voice of SAM COOKE FLOODS the sweet night AIR .....

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