100 songs that changed history

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Time Out explores the music that changed the course of world events

  • 4

    ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ – Sam Cooke (1964)

    Chosen by Dan Snow, author and TV/radio broadcaster

    Dan says: ‘Actually released actually after his death in 1964, this was only a moderate hit for Sam Cooke, compared to his previous singles. Despite this, it typifies the American Civil Rights Movement and its music, due to its devastating honesty, dignity, faith and hope. It enjoyed a sort of second life around the time of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign (only thanks to mass media, not in any official capacity), almost bookending the civil rights movement and highlighting its incredible journey.’

    Also chosen by James Morrison

    James says: 'In 1964, racism and social injustice were rife in the US. Sam Cooke, previously known for his sweet balladeering, took up the mantle of the civil rights movement to deliver an incredible song of hope and optimism. It was made poignant by his death a year before its release. The yearning in his voice gets me every time.'


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