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Album: Ain't That Good NewsReleased: 1963Charted:
Cooke wrote this when he was touring England in 1962 with Little Richard. Along with many Soulful ballads, he wrote a lot of lighter songs like this ("Good News," "Having A Party," "Twistin' The Night Away"), but did record a heavy political song shortly before his death in 1964: "A Change Is Gonna Come
Cat Stevens recorded this in 1974 - his version hit US #6. Except for "Morning Has Broken," it's the only Stevens release he did not write himself.
The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll brings us this Sam Cooke moment: Cooke began as a gospel singer in church and replaced the Soul Stirrers' R.H. Harris in 1951. For his first solo onstage, the crowd was skeptical of his ability to fill Harris' absence, but Cooke "... eyes closed and arms outstretched, sang without the rasping delivery or broken vowels of older stylists, avoiding the tentative offering of Harris' Roman tenor. Yet his voice, burrowing and soaring through plaintive dirges, exuding a gentle world-weariness, moved the congregation to a standing ovation."
The album's title, Ain't That Good News, is an allusion to his previous gospel choir roots, as the Biblical gospel is often referred to as "good news" in witnessing and ministering.
This was the first song Cooke released after the tragic drowning death of his son Vincent, who was 18 months old. in the interim, he'd fled town for out-of-town gigs, as many as he could get.