A Change Is Gonna Come
Sam Cooke Lyrics


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I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I've been running ev'r since
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
'Cause I don't know what's up there, beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin' me don't hang around
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say brother help me please
But he winds up knockin' me
Back down on my knees, oh

There have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on




It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

Overall Meaning

Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" is a song about hope and perseverance in the face of adversity. The first verse starts with Cooke describing his humble beginnings, being born and raised in a little tent by a river. The metaphor of the river represents his life, which has been constantly moving, evolving and challenging. Cooke then sings about the long and difficult journey he has been on, but he remains optimistic that "a change is gonna come". This repeated phrase is the heart of the song, a mantra that reinforces Cooke's determination to keep moving forward despite the hardships he faces.


In the second verse, Cooke reveals that he is afraid to die because he doesn't know what's beyond the sky. This fear is not necessarily of death, but rather of what comes after; a reflection of the uncertainty he feels about his future. Again, the theme of hope shines through as he expresses his belief that a change will come. The third verse depicts the discrimination and segregation that Cooke faced as a black man in the United States. He speaks of being warned not to hang around certain places, a reminder of the racial tension and segregation that existed even after the Civil Rights Act was passed. Despite these challenges, Cooke remains steadfast in his struggle, knowing that the change he seeks is on the horizon.


The final verse leans into his frustration with people who are supposed to be allies but end up causing more harm than help. Cooke pleads with his brother, hoping he will get the support he needs, but even his brother ends up knocking him down. Despite the setback, Cooke expresses his newfound strength and determination. He admits there have been moments when he thought he couldn't go on, but now he feels that he can persevere through whatever comes his way.


Line by Line Meaning

I was born by the river in a little tent
I grew up in poverty near a river, always on the move


Oh and just like the river I've been running ev'r since
Like the river, I've been constantly moving throughout my life


It's been a long, a long time coming
I've been waiting for a long time for something to change


But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will
I have hope that change will eventually come


It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
Life has been difficult, but I'm unsure about what comes after death


'Cause I don't know what's up there, beyond the sky
I'm uncertain about the existence of an afterlife


I go to the movie and I go downtown
I seek entertainment and escape from my troubles


Somebody keep tellin' me don't hang around
People warn me about the dangers of my surroundings


Then I go to my brother
I turn to my family for support


And I say brother help me please
I ask for help from those closest to me


But he winds up knockin' me
Unfortunately, my brother ultimately lets me down


Back down on my knees, oh
I am left feeling defeated


There have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
I have experienced moments of despair


But now I think I'm able to carry on
However, I now have the strength to keep going


But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will
I maintain my hope that change will eventually arrive




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Abkco Music Inc.
Written by: Sam Cooke

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

@roblw44

My two best friends recently died. One of them a month ago, the other a year ago. One night the three of us were hanging out on a Saturday night having ourselves a good time, laughing and driving around when my friend in the passenger seat asked my friend sitting in the backseat to sing for us. My friend in the backseat could sing very well and was in a gospel group with his brothers. He sang "a change gonna come". Little did I know that he was going to end up singing it to his funeral months later and now he's gone now too. These men were literally like brothers to me and now each time I hear this beautiful song, I dedicate it to them. Junie and JD, this is for you. My brothers

@diekop6204

prayers up bro.

@carltheman777

prayers to you my bro

@carmenteixeira9344

May the love of the Holy Spirit be with you, dear.

@intel2133

RIP to the soul bros.

@michelem2008

❤️

503 More Replies...

@user-ik8ro5lh5p

Sam Cooke recorded this song on January 30, 1964.
60 years ago.
What a song!
My forever favourite 🙏

@user-pn8uf8mk9c

❤️

@alightthatnevergoesout

Today marks 59 years since the tragedy of Sam Cookes death. We’ll never truly know why this great man was murdered, but we will forever be thankful for his contribution to music and society.

A great artist makes a great song, a legend makes a great impact. Sam Cooke is the definition of a legend. May God rest his soul, and may his music be listened to long after we’re gone.

@keithmorgan2054

Amen, sometimes I wonder why I’m still here !

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