“A Change is Gonna Come”

Towering Song

The Towering Song Award is presented to the creator(s) of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years.  Previous Towering Songs have included “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” “Moon River,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “It Was A Very Good Year” and “Stand By Me.” 

“A Change Is Gonna Come” was written by Sam Cooke in 1963 and recorded in January of 1964 in Hollywood, CA.  The track was released as a single in December of 1964.  This evocative composition was adopted as an anthem by the Civil Rights Movement virtually upon its release and is widely considered to be Cooke’s most significant and enduring composition. 

“A Change Is Gonna Come” has garnered over 500 recorded versions, including covers by Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, Bobby Womack, the Fugees, Jon Bon Jovi, Seal, R. Kelly, Gavin DeGraw, Terrence Trent D’Arby, the Righteous Brothers, Al Green and many others.  Over the years, “A Change Is Gonna Come” has garnered great accolades and in 2005, was voted #12 by representatives of the music industry and media in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and voted #3 in Pitchfork Media’s The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s.  The song is also among those deemed as “the most important ever recorded” by National Public Radio (NPR) and was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Recording Registry.

After the results of the 2008 U.S. presidential election, President-elect Barack Obama specifically referred to “A Change Is Gonna Come,” stating “It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, change has come to America” to the supporters gathered in Chicago’s Grant Park.  In the days leading up to the president’s inauguration, “A Change Is Gonna Come” could be heard repeatedly at different events throughout the Capital in Washington DC including a duet version by Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi at the Lincoln Memorial.  Cooke’s hopeful tome and vision for a multi-cultural society had come to fruition many years after he prophetically recorded the song, which is a cipher for righteous causes seeking change, equality and justice.

Cooke was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.  His songwriting catalog contains over 150 songs with more than 50 years after starting his songwriting career, his songs still endure to this day with recordings by major artists such as Amy Winehouse, the Rolling Stones, Jackie Wilson, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, the Neville Brothers, Leela James, Arcade Fire, Nas, Billy Bragg, the Band, Nina Simone, Cat Stevens, Shemekia Copeland, the Animals and Ray Charles among many others.

About ABKCO:                                                                                     
ABKCO Music & Records is one of the world’s leading independent entertainment companies. It is home to iconic catalog assets that include compositions and recordings by Sam Cooke, The Rolling Stones, Bobby Womack, Eric Burdon, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Marianne Faithfull, The Kinks as well as the Cameo Parkway masters by such artists as Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Clint Eastwood, The Orlons, The Dovells, & The Mysterians, Charlie Gracie, The Tymes and Dee Dee Sharp. Soundtrack releases include Wes Anderson’s 2013 Academy Award® nominated Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited and the 2010 Academy Award® nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox, Independent Spirit Award® Winner Safety Not Guaranteed, Our Idiot Brother, the international blockbuster Fast Five, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Men Who Stare At Goats and the soundtrack to the first season of the hit Showtime® series, Californication. ABKCO is active on many fronts including the release of critically lauded compilations and reissues from its catalog, film and commercial placement of its master recordings and music publishing properties in all media. ABKCO Films most recent release is The Rolling Stones Charlie Is My Darling – Ireland 1965. It has been involved with many successful movies including The Greek Tycoon starring Anthony Quinn and Jacqueline Bisset, La Grande Bouffe winner of the International Critics prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival and The Concert for Bangladesh featuring Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr. Renowned cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain, fully restored and remastered to HD, were shown at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival (Classics section) and at the prestigious 44th New York Film Festival. In 2003 ABKCO won a Grammy for the DVD release of Sam Cooke – Legend and the following year released the DVD of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus to universal acclaim. Upcoming releases include a restoration of the Spaghetti Western Blindman starring Ringo Starr. ABKCO Films is in pre-production on a biopic on the life of Sam Cooke.  www.abkco.com www.facebook.com/abkco www.twitter.com/abkco