3 Eternal Songs by Sam Cooke that Have Stood the Test of Time

When it comes to singing voices, there are many reasons to listen closer to a certain one. Perhaps it’s smooth and luxurious, perhaps its gravelly and hard or, as in the case of the great soul singer Sam Cooke, the song is reminiscent of pure joy. For the Clarksdale, Mississippi-born Cooke, singing was a gift and a passion and that’s what he imbued to all of his listeners.

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And along the way during his short though illustrious career, Cooke wrote, recorded, and released some songs that have more than stood the test of time. Here below, we wanted to examine three such tracks. A trio of offerings from the singer that continue to bring smiles to faces and sways to hips. Indeed, these are three eternal soul songs from Sam Cooke.

[RELATED: 3 More Songs You Didn’t Know Sam Cooke Wrote for Other Artists]

“A Change Is Gonna Come” from Ain’t That Good News (1964)

Like Marvin Gaye’s iconic track, “What’s Going On,” this song is a beautiful offering born from sadness and pain. Black Americans have endured overly harsh, even evil circumstances throughout history in this country, from slavery to Jim Crow to segregation, and here in this song, Cooke sings about the hope that is born from a person and his community in the face of all that wickedness. The tune humanizes its singer while also getting at his harsh surroundings, all with concise artfulness. On the track, Cooke sings,

I was born by the river
In a little tent
Oh, and just like the river, I’ve been running
Ever since

It’s been a long
A long time coming, but I know
A change gon’ 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

“Bring It On Home to Me” from The Best of Sam Cooke (1962)

A love song post-breakup, this track is about Cooke pleading for his love to return, even after they’ve split. Forget the past, forget the circumstances that got us here, he sings, and bring your love back home to me! Delivered in his dulcet, magnetic style, this tune is one of the iconic love songs of the 1960s. On it, Cooke sings,

If you ever change your mind
About leaving, leaving me behind
Baby, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)

I know I laughed when you left
But now I know I only hurt myself
Baby, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me

Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah

“Another Saturday Night” from Ain’t That Good News (1964)

Throwing a house party? Got all your neighbors and friends over? Got your bowls of chips, coolers of cokes, and beer? Well, take out the record player and put this song on and watch everyone rouse from their seats and cut a rug. One of the several shindig tunes from Cooke, along with “Having a Party,” his voice just invites you to have a good time. The work week is over and it’s time to enjoy yourself. But what would make all this better? Having a gal to enjoy it with. Inside this party song, Cooke puts a love song, as only he can. On it, he sings between horn solos,

Another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause i just got paid
How I wish I had someone to talk to
I’m in an awful way

I got in town a month ago, I seen a lotta girls since then
If I could meet ’em I could get ’em but as yet I haven’t met ’em
That’s why I’m in the shape I’m in

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Photo by Jess Rand/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

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