Sam Cooke: A Change is Gonna Come

For many popular music fans, singer Sam Cooke was a composer of appealing pop confections that sweetened the sound of top forty radio in the late 1950s and early ‘60s. Through this program, listeners heard a different story about a man who fought against the indignities suffered by African American performers on tour though the South. In addition, Sam Cooke was a trailblazer: he owned his own songs, started his own record company and used his music as a tool of social change in the African American community and beyond. Producer David C. Barnett traced Cooke’s career and showed how he exemplified the goals of the American Civil Rights Movement. Listeners heard from Sam Cooke’s family, friends and fellow entertainers who offer their insights. Singer Solomon Burke told tales from the road in the segregated South. NAACP Chair Julian Bond recalled the galvanizing effect of Cooke’s posthumous hit A Change is Gonna Come, which became a civil rights anthem. Music scholar and Cooke biographer Peter Guralnick probed other stories from the musician’s life and mysterious death in December of 1964.

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