We continue the upbeat, wonderful theme with Cooke’s 1960 hit. It was penned under the the songwriting pseudonym "Barbara Campbell," the name of Cooke's high school sweetheart, but the song was originally written by Lou Alder and Herb Alpert, with Cooke sprinkling the finishing touches with his lyrics and those school lesson references, alluding to politics, history and trigonometry, but yearning for love. Adler later founded Dunhill Records and manage big name artists including The Mamas & The Papas, and Carole King. Herb Alpert was famous as a trumpeter as well as a composer and put the "A" in A&M Records with his band Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. The song is seen as optimistic, and Cooke’s purity of voice certainly aids this, but unlike Louis Armstrong’s It’s a Wonderful World, the message is more hopeful than certain, it’s a world that would be wonderful, but isn’t necessarily so without love.
The song has been covered numerous times from Otis Redding to Bryan Ferry, Michael Bolton, Art Garfunkel and Rod Stewart, and there came a huge flood of versions after Cooke’s tragically early death in 1964 in a controversial shooting. For many it will be forever associated with certain films in the 1980s, including Richard Gere in 1983’s Breathless, and especially in Witness (1985) where Harrison Ford’s detective falls in love with Amish Kelly McGillis, not to mention a series of Levis jeans ads.
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