Country singers Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge got married just hours after meeting in an airport lounge in Los Angeles in 1971. Their marriage lasted for only seven years. And while they didn’t seem like the best as husband and wife, they fared better as duet partners. Case in point: “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends.”
Three years later, Ronnie Milsap released his own version. It was the second single off his album Pure Love, and it went on to become a big hit. The song earned him his second chart-topper and fourth country hit and won him his first-ever Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance.
Then, in 1978, Kris Kristofferson dropped a duet version with his then-wife Rita Coolidge. The track was included in their final duet album, Natural Act. And it hit harder than you think it would, especially knowing that they went their separate ways two years after this record.
Meaning Behind the Song
Knowing it’s the end is one thing, saying it’s the end is another thing. Sometimes, things are better left unsaid.
Kristofferson and Coolidge hit off the first line of the song with, “This could be our last good night together.” And their vocals – Kristofferson’s gravelly, deep voice combined with Coolidge’s smoky, husky yet pure sound – flawlessly delivered a bittersweet note to it. Coolidge then sang the rest of the verse while her then-husband harmonized with her.
After that, in the second verse, they talked about how the present would soon just be memories for them – a reminder of each other. The sadness in their voices and the piercing eye contact made it even more painful to watch.
But it was the last verse that really hit the nail. It was an acceptance of the end but choosing not to believe it.
Watch Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge’s live performance of “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends” in the video below. Make sure you have tissues by your side. You’re absolutely going to need them.
kris kristofferson, Rita Coolidge