Vietnam Music Monday: “A Change Is Gonna Come”

A Change Is Gonna Come

“A Change Is Gonna Come” was released on December 22, 1964. (Newseum Collection)

Music played an important cultural role during the Vietnam War, representing the rebellious views of a young generation and the traditional values of an older, so-called “silent majority.” The Newseum selected 40 songs released between 1963 and 1973 that typified the music of the Vietnam era. The songs captured the emotions of people for and against the war and reflected the mood of an increasingly diverse country amid dramatic social and political change.

The 40 songs, part of the Newseum’s “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit that opens May 22, are a fraction of the hundreds of recordings that dealt with the war and civil disobedience. Each week, one song from the playlist will be featured. We encourage you to add your favorite songs of the era to the comment section!

A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)

Sam Cooke

“A Change Is Gonna Come” was not a hit when it was first released, but it soon became an anthem for the civil rights movement. The song was popular with African American soldiers, who were disproportionately conscripted into the Army by the draft. Soul singer Sam Cooke performed the song only once — during an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”


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 comin’
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Purchase “A Change Is Gonna Come” on Amazon or iTunes.

“Reporting Vietnam,” a new exhibit that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of America’s first televised war, explores the dramatic stories of how journalists brought news about the war to a divided nation.

CBS News

Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.

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