Sunday, July 06, 2008

Number 481 - Sam Cooke

Number 481

Sam Cooke

"A Change Is Gonna Come"

Who took my clean sheets?
It is hard to believe that there are still dicks like this picture on the right, that exist and I'm sure, come this November, the "linen brigade" will even be more disheartened. Good job.
In 1981, you could say New Zealand had their own civil rights movement to end [believe it or not] racial disharmony in another country, South Africa. New Zealand was divided in two over a visiting South African rugby team who insisted that no "dark" [Maori] players be in the New Zealand team when visiting their country. The two different sides in NZ were easily defined, one group who opposed racial discrimination [the protesters] and the other side, who just wanted to watch sport without politics, [rugby heads]. You can imagine the outcome ... yup disastrous.
plain and simple
But in the end, both sides got a favourable result, 3 rugby games got played and ultimately [if not eventually], apartheid was eliminated [on the surface] in South Africa. Click here to read the more official side of the protest.
There was a famous picture taken one day in 1981 that ended up on the front page of the nations newspaper, where the protesters met the Police Force of the rugby heads. Divided between the two, on that fateful day, there were a row of large empty waste bins about 8 feet high. In this picture, a line of blue coppers on one side and on other side a row of motorcycle helmet wearing protesters. But in the middle, was not just only the waste bins, was me, sitting upon them alone, looking down on this chaos. Sort of defined me quite well "Sitting on the fence whistlin'". Some people will say that's nothing to be proud of, but hey, I was 16 and didn't even know that racism existed on that type of level, [my theory being that everyone is the same colour on the inside] let alone the idiots that are the KKK, anyone who wears sheets and pillow cases over their heads cant be taken that seriously, it's to cartoonish for words, it's just unfortunately so.
World Champs
As irony would have it, [the cruel hand of fate?] in 1995, South Africa won the World Cup against New Zealand in the final with both teams fielding black players. But New Zealand didn't really loose that day, did we?
They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
Sam Cooke may have once sang "A change is gonna come" But it took one country to do it [and not necessarily meaning New Zealand]. It is America's turn in November, if not just for the "Linen Brigade" to choke on their own guilt.
Mr Cool
Sam Cooke was the most important soul singer in history -- he was also the inventor of soul music, and its most popular and beloved performer in both the black and white communities. Equally important, he was among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of the music business, and founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. Yet, those business interests didn't prevent him from being engaged in topical issues, including the struggle over civil rights, the pitch and intensity of which followed an arc that paralleled Cooke's emergence as a star -- his own career bridged gaps between black and white audiences that few had tried to surmount, much less succeeded at doing, and also between generations; where Chuck Berry or Little Richard brought black and white teenagers together, James Brown sold records to white teenagers and black listeners of all ages, and Muddy Waters got young white folkies and older black transplants from the South onto the same page, Cooke appealed to all of the above, and the parents of those white teenagers as well -- yet he never lost his credibility with his core black audience.
22.01.31 to 11.12.64
The drowning death of his infant son in mid-1963 had made it impossible for Cooke to work in the studio until the end of that year. During that time, however, with Allen Klein now managing his business affairs, Cooke did achieve the financial and creative independence that he'd wanted, including more money than any black performer had ever been advanced before, and the eventual ownership of his recordings beginning in November of 1963 -- he had achieved creative control of his recordings as well, and seemed poised for a breakthrough. It came when he resumed making records, amid the musical ferment of the early '60s. Cooke was keenly aware of the music around him, and was particularly entranced by Bob Dylan's song "Blowin' in the Wind," its treatment of the plight of black Americans and other politically oppressed minorities, and its success in the hands of Peter, Paul & Mary -- all of these factors convinced him that the time was right for songs that dealt with more than twisting the night away.
Change is gonna come
The result was "A Change Is Gonna Come," perhaps the greatest song to come out of the civil rights struggle, and one that seemed to close and seal the gap between the two directions of Cooke's career, from gospel to pop. Arguably his greatest and his most important song, it was an artistic apotheosis for Cooke. During this same period, he had also devised a newer, more advanced dance-oriented soul sound in the form of the song "Shake." These two recordings heralded a new era for Cooke and a new phase of his career, with seemingly the whole world open to him.
Were you there?
None of it was to be. Early in the day on December 11, 1964, while in Los Angeles, Cooke became involved in an altercation at a seedy motel, with a woman guest and the night manager, and was shot to death while allegedly trying to attack the manager. The case is still shrouded in doubt and mystery, and was never investigated the way the murder of a star of his stature would be today. Cooke's death shocked the black community and reverberated far beyond -- his single "Shake" was a posthumous Top Ten hit, as were "A Change Is Gonna Come" and the At the Copa album, released in 1965. Otis Redding, Al Green, and Solomon Burke, among others, picked up key parts of Cooke's repertory, as did white performers, including the Animals and the Rolling Stones. Even the Supremes recorded a memorial album of his songs, which is now one of the most sought-after of their original recordings, in either LP or CD form. ~ [Bruce Eder, All Music Guide]
For Bob Dylan see Number 491,
For Otis Redding see Number 623
For Chuck Berry see Number 783
For James Brown see Number 741
For Rolling Stones see Number 689 & Number 767
For the Supremes see Number 716
What does Rolling Drone think of Sam Cooke?
One of the towering figures in postwar American popular music, Sam Cooke emerged from the gospel world already a full-blown star, young, handsome, graceful as a ballet dancer, and blessed with a degree of onstage charisma and sensuality that had previously been confined to secular heartthrobs. As with Elvis Presley, his image and the sex appeal threatened to obscure the powerful artistry underneath it all, but ultimately the music triumphed. In Cooke's case, his move to the pop field laid the foundation for modern soul music, not only in his forward-looking blend of gospel, pop and R&B, but also in his songwriting, which revealed a burgeoning social conscience informed by gospel's shouts of struggle, peace, and freedom. For Cooke, the political was personal, as he embraced the ideal of economic and political self-determination with the same fervor with which he infused his gospel performances. To that end, he set himself apart in a white-dominated industry by taking control of his career both as an artist and as a businessman. ~ [Source Rolling Stone - From the 2004 The New Rolling Stone Album Guide - edited]
For Elvis Presley see Number 501 & Number 840
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '481st Song of all Time' was "Young Americans" by David Bowie. David Bowie has appeared in The Definitive 1000 @ Number 495, #513 [with Queen] & #634
Other songs with reference to Sam Cooke #482, #518, #563, #611, #620, #623, #718
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number 12 the Album ranked at (We only like his greatest hits)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 76.1 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z



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