This morning I was having breakfast in the Waffle House across campus. My friend asked me to play something on the jukebox and as I was scrolling through I found this song, which I knew I had to listen to complete the assignment. I pressed play and listened to it while eating breakfast and an older black women with her friends in the booth behind us told me it was a good choice as she began singing along. So for context, that was how I first listened to this song, so it might have affected how much I liked it.
I learned that Sam Cooke was a up and coming soul singer who had written this song after he and his entourage were turned away at a motel in Louisiana. The song was only a moderate hit but it became widely praised as one of the most important civil rights songs ever. He died young after being shot in a motel so many thought that he left too soon.
I really enjoyed the composition of this song. I could really feel how impacting the orchestra made the otherwise simple song. It still had elements of jazz and blues but the layering of violins, horns, and timpani really rounded the song to me. I could imagine this song maybe being sung on broadway as a the showstopper to a great musical.
Otherwise the song seems to have gained fame posthumously. It was featured in the movie Malcolm heavily and would continue to be used as very representative of the later 60s.