2

152: Sam Cooke, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’

Sam Cooke wrote ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ as a black response to ‘Blowing in the Wind’. It was only released a week after he was killed by a motel manager, and has become the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights movement. Second in a series of three death-premonition songs.

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8

151: Otis Redding, ‘(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay’

You might not think that “Spookily Existential Posthumous Hits” is a genre unto itself, but here’s the first of three which are memorable, moving and eerily prophetic. Otis recorded this song two months before he died, aged 26.

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4

149: Antony & the Johnsons: ‘Epilepsy is Dancing’

Antony Hegarty, an artist of questionable sexuality but undeniable gravity, flinches at nothing: he explains how the world menstruates, writes lyrics like ‘Cut me in quadrants/Leave me in the corner’, creates the profoundly unsettling video of “Cut the World”. Artists break conventions. Antony is a gentle, tortured, spiritual queer who leaves no convention or preconception unbroken. And nobody’s laughing.

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1

291: James Taylor, ‘Valentine’s Day’

Happy Valentine’s Day?
Or maybe a domestic massacre?

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3

148: Andy Williams, ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’

We all have our weaknesses. For some it’s wine, for some it’s cocaine, for some it’s merely nostalgia. Two gifts from Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer, as presented by Andy Williams–‘Moon River’, and especially ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’,

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13

145: Peter, Paul & Mary, ‘Early Morning Rain’

“Hi, I’m Peter, but I’m no saint.”
“Hi, I’m Paul, and I’m no saint.”
“Hi, I’m Mary, and I’m no virgin.”

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13

290: Becca Kristovsky, ‘Bye Bye Baby Blues’

We buried Becca yesterday, but she’s still singing. With a glint in her eye. She’s singing those bye bye baby blues.

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2

140: Randy Newman, ‘Sail Away’

How would Donald Trump react to Randy Newman’s ‘Sail Away’, in which a slavemaster gives a pep talk to his African charges setting off in chains on a cruise to the Promised Land?

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