musicology #83

sixartist,sixtune,sixweekspecial #6

(Sam Cooke – A Change Is Going To Come

had to be this one to finish up the Sam Cooke tribute. one from themusicologist’s top10 tunes of all time, regardless of genre…

another quote from the excellent book about Sam Cooke, (Dream Boogie), by Peter Guralnick

“He had given Rene Hall the ‘civil rights’ song he had played for J.W (Alexander), with no specific instructions other than to provide it with the kind of instrumentation and orchestration that it demanded. Rene was in no doubt as to the momentousness of the charge.

“I wanted it to be the greatest thing in my life……..”

’nuff said…


14 thoughts on “musicology #83

  1. Beautiful, beautiful song that I had not heard in a while. Thanks for sharing.

    Sam left us far too soon. I am sure he had more masterpieces in him. You know Barak Obama should contact the Cooke family on using this for his campaign song. Suits his message perfectly!

    When Peter Guralnick was promoting the release of “Dream Boogie” I was right there (to get his autograph 😉 and he had such wonderful stories to tell on the making of the book. It was an honor to meet him and I too recommend this book to one and all! You won’t regret the purchase. IT is a great read.


  2. the brightest stars burn briefly but touch our souls deeply and nowhere is this more present than in music.

    youre right about Obama .. you should suggest it.


  3. the way Sam delivers this makes me believe in the human race..the fact that it was his last record makes me know that we are ‘born for a purpose’

    no doubting what Mr Souls was..


  4. for those who don’t know..Sam was inspired to write this after hearing, (singing,/recording), Bob Dylan’s 1962 song ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ which, in turn was inspired by the melody from an old slave song ‘No More Auction Block’.

    Sam was a musicologist and historian of the finest calibre and was probably aware of this and, (apparently), wondered why it took a ‘white kid’ to write such a powerful and openly rebellious song about, (among other things), segregation.

    Sam Cooke was the first celebrity to sport the natural ‘fro when everyone else was still ‘busting’ the ‘wet look’ as well as the first ‘cat’ to own his own publishing company, (in collaboration with J.W Alexander), which must have inspired another six/six/six artist, Curtis Mayfield, to follow suit.

    Sam opened many of the doors through which others followed as did Bob Dylan and their legacy is all encompasing throughout contempory culture..

    this power is inherent in music but over the proceeding years has, in the main, been buried beneath an avalance of ‘information songs’ that have little, or no value, other than to make money…what a shame that the ‘peoples weapon’ has been hijacked in this way…is there a solution to this problem?


  5. Generally I don’t like to speak negatively about someone else’s work, but “Dream Boogie” leaves something to be desired to say the least. Having talked with artists who knew and worked with my uncle, their collective thought was that it painted Sam in a negative light– a light which he didn’t deserve. My synopsis, having labored through “Dream Boogie,” was that painting him in this light justified the “official version” of Sam’s demise. I don’t buy it, and there are a lot of others who share my sentiment. Please don’t just take my word for it, ask around to true Sam fans who have read the book as well.

    From a factual standpoint, there are things that are blatently wrong in “Dream Boogie”–some people misidentified in pictures (including a young Sam himself in the hardback version…inexcusable), others are airbrushed out completely, the whereabouts of Allen Klein during Sam’s murder are questionable, television appearances are quoted but never took place (Sam NEVER sang “A Change is Gonna Come on The Tonight Show), wrong concert venues–I could go on and on. It drones on about minute facts and dirty laundry that even I had problems digesting at a comfortable clip. Don’t get me wrong, Sam was no angel, but the good he did in the world and the way he treated those close to him was something truly remarkable. A lot of that was lost in the 700+ pages of Guralnick’s book.

    I put the book down several times in disbelief, but was later comforted to know I wasn’t the only one. With a public starving to know more about Sam the man as well as Sam the artist however, it’s not surprising many took what they read for gospel. I don’t blame the people who’ve read “Dream Boogie” for believing what they’ve read, I only want them to know there’s a rather different side of the Sam Cooke saga.


    Erik Greene
    Author, “Our Uncle Sam: The Sam Cooke Story From His Family’s Perspective”


  6. Erik,

    very pleased that you took the time to ‘put the record straight’ about ‘Dream Boogie’.

    I have learnt to take nothing as gospel, having been brought up with the words of a Marvin Gaye song ringing in my ears

    “believe half of what you see,
    son, and none of what you hear”

    fortunately you have taken the time to write a book from an intimate perspective and you can be as sure as the sun shines that I will be procuring a copy and reading it.

    for me nothing or no-one could change the very high regard I hold your uncle in as my experience of ‘the Lion’, (another piece of synchronicity having never seen that name before!!), is all down to his music.

    something that I always keep in mind and subconciously apply to every, (his-tory), book I read is:

    “what most people think of as history is its end product, myth”. (E. L Doctorow)

    I hope you can see from the musical tributes paid on themusicologist that as far as I’m concerned the words negativity and Sam Cooke don’t go together no matter who’s painting the picture.

    thanks again for taking the time to comment Erik, appreciate the sincerity..

    p.s how can I/we get hold of a copy of the book could you drop a link to it here?


  7. p.s what a great proverb…

    had never seen or heard it before today…so much truth in it…

    “until the lion tells his own story the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter”

    thanks again


  8. Information about my book and other Sam Cooke-related events can be found at, musicolgist. And I’m glad you appreciate the proverb on my site; I found it by accident but thought it perfectly described why I wrote my book.

    I love your passion for my uncle’s music and his legacy. He was truly a remarkable human being, and I feel your admiration in your praise of his music.

    Keep doing what you’re doing,



  9. And Sondan, The Cook family does not and has never received direct royalties from Sam’s music, nor do we own the Sam Cooke catalog. Barack would have to get permission from Allen Klein’s ABKCO Records, not the family.

    If you think it’s strange that a man who put his career on the line by holding steadfast about retaining ownership of his publishing rights would freely sign that over to someone else, stand in line. I think it’s even stranger that just days before he was going to make major changes amongst his business associates, he winds up dead.

    Like I said, there’s a whole “other” side of the Sam Cooke story that until now has never been told.



  10. Erik,

    how did that happen? as you state Mr Soul was adamant and unique in his refusal to sell out the publishing..

    Ive always thought it was a setup personally, (his death), it’s obviously not a cut and dried homicide.


  11. heartfelt thanks for your encouragment Erik..sure as the sun shines I’ll be procuring a copy of the book.

    my appreciation of his music and what little I know of the man knows no boundries..


  12. “A Change Is Gonna Come” is a great and moving song. Arranger René Hall was already a veteran of the music business when he wrote the arrangement for this song. René Hall also played guitar fills on many of Sam Cooke’s songs. And he plays the driving guitar on the opening of Ritchie Valen’s “La Bamba”.


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