I’ve been a Lou Reed fan for years, including his Velvet Underground days, and I’ve known about his love for early Rock & Roll and soul music from his discussion with Elvis Costello on Elvis’s show Spectacle. And yet, despite a stellar performance by a very good backing band, despite the fact that I got a kick out of Lou reading the lyrics off of an iPad, occasionally scrolling and pinching and zooming, I just couldn’t abide his vocals for this particular song.
Now, I’m not a snob who thinks that all vocals have to be pretty (I’m a HUGE Bob Dylan fan, nuff said), and I can see that Lou really feels the emotional intensity of the song. But, A Change Is Gonna Come is so special to me because of Sam Cooke’s gorgeous, soaring vocal delivery, and Lou’s voice just doesn’t work here.
Please do go and check out Lou’s version, because if you’re a music geek like me it’s still TOTALLY worth it from an academic standpoint. In the meantime, however, I thought I’d post a version of A Change Is Gonna Come by someone other than Sam Cooke that I think does work.
In fact, it works in a big, BIG way.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the incomparable Al Green: