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Singer knew 'A Change is Gonna Come'
Senior Moments
Rich DeLong is executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. - photo by File photo

Last week, a television news show highlighted new jeans with fake mud stains woven into the fabric.

Really? Apparently my mom was wrong for scolding me every time I came home with mud on my pants. You owe me mom. If you had just realized what I was doing back in 1965 was artistic creativity capitalism, we could have turned those pants into a multi-million dollar venture. Nordstrom sells these pants for $425 a pair.

This is not the first time we have missed the boat on fantastic fabric fancies. Need I remind anyone how popular jeans with holes are? I invented those too.

Man, can’t a guy get a break every now and then?

I guess that is what change is all about. Ideas once thought crazy are now in vogue. Of course, change just keeps recycling itself, right? I mean, do we ever really change or do we just think things are changing?

Recording artist Sam Cooke released a song in 1964 with the title, "A Change Is Gonna Come." The song was inspired by various personal events in Cooke’s life, most prominently a 1963 event in which he and his entourage were turned away from a whites-only motel in Louisiana.

In addition, Bob Dylan’s "Blowin’ in the Wind" was released in 1963. Sam was greatly moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. Cooke felt compelled to write a song that spoke to his own struggle and of those around him.

Though only a modest hit, "A Change Is Gonna Come" became an anthem for the civil rights movement. The song is widely considered one of Cooke’s best compositions. The song was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress, with the National Recording Registry deeming the song culturally, historically and aesthetically important.

Cooke first performed "A Change Is Gonna Come" on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on Feb. 7, 1964. Many felt it would become a milestone moment in Cooke’s career, but it was overshadowed by the Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show just two days later.

Sam Cooke never performed the song again in his lifetime, both because of the complexity of the arrangement and because of the ominous nature of the song. On Dec. 11, 1964, two weeks before the song was released as a single, Sam Cooke was fatally shot at a Los Angeles motel. The incident was ruled justifiable homicide.

Sam Cooke was one of my favorite artists. Although he died at age 33, he led a changed life for sure.

Some say change is good. Others say change is inevitable. Still many say change is hard. I think all of these are true. One thing I know for sure, change is happening all around us. I still wonder though, is change really ever gonna come?

The other day I showed a picture of those fake-mud jeans to my wife. "Why would anyone want to wear dirty-looking pants," she asked?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Contact DeLong at 912-531-7867 or email him at:

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