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Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come Fifty years ago, Sam Cooke's “A Change Is Gonna Come” hit the charts. The enduring civil-rights anthem took inspiration from surprising.THE UNLIKELY STORY OF “A CHANGE IS GONNA COME” By David Cantwell March 17, 2015
Half a century ago, on March 7, 1965, state troopers knocked down, gassed, and beat a number of men and women who were participating in a peaceful march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. That same day, radio listeners around the country might have heard Sam Cooke singing a lyric he’d written and recorded several months earlier, but which could have been describing the “Bloody Sunday” confrontation on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Then I go to my brother
And I say, “Brother, help me please.
But he winds up knockin’ me
Back down on my knees.
Like the Selma-to-Montgomery march, Cooke’s brooding but bright civil-rights anthem “A Change Is Gonna Come” recently marked its fiftieth anniversary. The song, which was released as the B-side of Cooke’s posthumous hit single “Shake” just days after his funeral, in December 1964, entered the national pop and R&B charts during the first week of 1965. It fell off the pop countdown, after peaking at No. 31, on March 13th, and would slip from the R&B charts, where it climbed to No. 9, on April 10.