Sam Cooke and A Change Is Gonna Come

In the midst of a time where black Americans were facing extreme ridicule and fighting for their rights, Sam Cooke arose from the Gospel music style and merged into the music known as Soul, a genre that spoke to the socially crumbling nation about peace and civil rights changes. Through his smooth style, velvety voice, handsome appearance, and appeal to black and white audiences alike, Sam Cooke made a difference in the lives of Americans in the 1960s by singing with pure emotion and soul, like in “A Change is Gonna Come”.
Through this genre’s sincere singing with lyrics full of emotion, a sense of understanding was brought to the people of America about the African-American struggle for equality. Soul music came from Gospel roots, emerging onto the music scene around the 1950s. Because it came from Gospel and Rhythm and Blues, the term “Soul” really is what is says: the music itself contains much feeling or “soul” in the lyrics, and the actual style of music and singing reflect gospel-hymns, just with secular lyrics instead (Scaruffi).
Soul allowed the sexual innuendoes of blues lyrics, and gave way to a more catchy style that caught on with the young people of America. Major elements of Soul music include a sense of call-and-response between the soloist and the chorus, improvisation in singing various vocal runs, and an almost vocal ‘moaning’ in between lines of verses and choruses. Credited with inventing Soul is Ray Charles, who initially fused the call-and-response format with the song structure and chord changes of R&B, along with the vocal styles of Gospel (Gilmore).

Samuel Cook: American singer, songwriter, civil-rights activist and entrepreneur.

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