But It Makes No Sense
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Sam Cooke - "A Change Is Gonna Come"

That "A Change is Gonna Come" comes from a great gospel singer is surprising in at least these ways:

1. The vocal restraint - Cooke's voice is huge. His phrasing is gut-wrenching, drawing out a word (on the same note) for a beat longer than one thinks likely, or waiting, singing behind the band, not moving til the spirit moves him. He sings big notes, but the runs are minimal and it is the richness of his voice and the good taste he shows in the arrangement of his own music that communicates feeling so powerfully.

2. The secular approach to personal and social problems/religious skepticism - A song about personal and social struggle, "A Change is Gonna Come" (as its title suggests) espouses a hopeful outlook despite bleak conditions, and implies a secular humanist solution to problems of civil rights. When he sings that "It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die, 'cause I don't know what's up there beyond the sky," a violin plays a plaintive pentatonic run.

Besides civil rights and theology, Cooke deals elsewhere with issues as diverse as trigonometry, history and Ludwig Wittgenstein, so why not buy his greatest hits and drop out of school?


Quasi - "The Poisoned Mine"

Last week I posted the Tara Jane O'Neil song, "The Poisoned Mine" under the title "The Poisoned Well." Today, in the name of justice, I'm posting the Quasi song, "The Poisoned Well" under the name "The Poisoned Mine." [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at May 2, 2005 11:05 PM

Change is gonna come is one of the greatest recordings of all time.

Thanks for sharing it!


Posted by fatcitizen at May 3, 2005 12:39 AM

Hey Jordan, so what Cooke song talks about Wittgenstein? "Pass over in silence"?

Posted by Matthew at May 3, 2005 3:27 AM

I'm a big music fan. All genre. I spend countless hours, researching, playing, listening to music. I run a damn audioblog.

And I've never found anything as brillant, moving, exhilarating & aching as "A Change Is Gonna Come" ...

Posted by Garrincha at May 3, 2005 5:08 AM

Am i going nuts? Didn't you blog this song last year? Might have been a different blog, but this song made me run out and buy his greatest hits and I'm so grateful for it.

Posted by matt at May 3, 2005 10:56 AM

Hey Zaidie!
So did he (Jordan, not Sam Cooke) learn about a singer 'singing behind the band' from listening to Frank Sinatra, one of the greatest masters of the technique?
Be proud of this boy, he's got great taste!
Thanks, Jordan, for the Cooke cut.

Posted by J at May 3, 2005 12:59 PM

There aren't that many songs that give me as many goose bumps as "Change". Probably one of top 10 or so songs of all time. It kills me every time I hear him sing how his brother "winds up knockin' me back down on my knees..." That's as bleak as you get, and to hear him sing right after how he thinks he's "able to carry on" *really* kills me (in a good way this time).

Thanks for spreading the word.

Posted by Anonymous at May 3, 2005 1:37 PM

long time reader, first time commenter. firstly, thank you for introducing to me to a wealth of great music over the last 6 months or so i've been reading. i, too, can swear that you blogged this sometime late last year -- i think it was one of the first songs i got from this site, and it really is just absolutely gorgeous. it's become one of my favorite songs.

anyway, thanks.

Posted by bethany at May 3, 2005 3:08 PM

Thanks for all the Sam Cooke love.

Mathew - I remember taking note that Cooke mentions Wittgenstein in a song, but now I can't find it and I'm beginning to worry that I can't tell the difference between 'Frankenstein' and 'Wittgenstein.' Either way, Cooke's not as thorough a Wittgenstein scholar as, say, Saul Kripke, but he brings more soul to the table, by far.

Beth (can I call you Beth?) and Matt - I first heard "Change" two weeks ago, and I started writing for STG about eight months ago, so I can assure you that I didn't post this song a year ago. However, it is possible that Sean posted it. In which case... Oops.

Did you, Sean?

Posted by jordan at May 3, 2005 3:44 PM

I wish I had, but I, um, hadn't.

And doing a search for "Cooke" gives no other returns... A mystery!

Posted by Sean at May 3, 2005 4:06 PM

Yep I remember you blogging it Jordan! A collective mystery... Maybe it pops up everytime there's an important election. Here in the UK I ~do~ hope a change's gonna come... I sure campaigned for it! (Blair out!)

Posted by Matthew in London at May 3, 2005 4:27 PM

It was posted over at Soul Sides a couple months ago as part of a "Revolutionary Mixtape". It was a great post, also including Nina Simone's "I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free), an amazing song in its own right.

Posted by mlp at May 3, 2005 5:20 PM

Sam Cooke sings, "don't know much about history, don't know much biology..." (yes he says trigonometry, too) on "Win Your Love". In "Another Saturday Night" he compares a girl he went out on a date with to Frankenstein.
Soulful? Yes. Scholarly? No.

In "Change Is Gonna Come", when he talks about his brother, he isn't talking about his relative. He's talking about his "brother" or "soul brother". In fact, I don't think it's him talking. I don't think he wrote the song.

Posted by Michael at May 3, 2005 7:29 PM

I am Sean's old aunt and I have loved Sam Cooke for many years....he has a heavenly voice.... Thanks for sharing this track....

Posted by Aunty D at May 3, 2005 8:42 PM

He clearly wrote it himself. Check out Guralnik's chapter on Sam Cooke in "Sweet Soul Music" : he wrote it right after he heard "Times They Are A Changing" by Dylan

I too blogged this song earlier this year, on new years eve ...

Posted by Garrincha at May 4, 2005 5:19 AM

It wasn't here. Music.for-robots posted it last year. I remember Tuwa mentioning it on his (sadly) short-lived blog.

Great song still..

Posted by rosie at May 4, 2005 12:21 PM

that's it, then. must've got it from music for robots. mystery solved.

Posted by matt at May 7, 2005 9:17 AM

Never heard it before! THANK YOU!

Posted by Audrey at May 9, 2005 11:58 AM

Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny