June 20

“Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends”: A Kris & Rita Duet

About the Song

A 1974 hit song, “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends” was originally recorded and performed by American country music singer and pianist Ronnie Milsap. Actually, the song was penned by American singer-songwriter and one of the Outlaws Kris Kristofferson. Music producers Tom Collins and Jack Johnson produced the song under the RCA Records music label. This two-minute song was released in July 1974 as the second single from Milsap’s third studio album, Pure Love.

"Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends": A Kris & Rita Duet 1
Ronnie Milsap |Photo Credits: northcarolinamusichalloffame.com

In addition, the songwriter, Kristofferson, recorded the song with American recording artist and then-wife Rita Coolidge in 1978 for their final duet album, Natural Act. Later, he also released a recording with British singer-songwriter Mark Knopfler for Kristofferson’s 1999 album, The Austin Sessions. In fact, the song has been recorded by other artists since then. The most notable versions are that of Willie Nelson in 1979, Bobby Bare in 1993, Sammy Davis Jr. in 2005, and Joan Osborne in 2006.

After its official release in 1974, “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends” immediately entered the music charts. Its most successful was when it peaked at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. Moreover, it also reached no. 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 while it topped all the country tracks in Canada in that year.

Kristofferson & Coolidge Duet

"Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends": A Kris & Rita Duet 2
Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson |Photo Credits: Getty Images/Bettmann

Four years after Ronnie Milsap released his original version, Kris Kristofferson encouraged his wife Rita Coolidge to record “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends” as a part of their duet album. It would soon be their last and final duet album. Ironically, the song reflected on their relationship. Kristofferson and Coolidge’s marriage was short-lived, a seven-year-old relationship.

Kris and Rita sang the song together on stage with the former playing his guitar. The blending and harmony of their voices soothe one’s ears yet the message goes deep through the heart. This is a song about a love story that is about to end. And, the lovers just don’t want to know how their relationship will go.

Here are the first two stanzas of the song and immediately, you’ll understand what the song really intends:

This could be our last goodnight together
We may never pass this way again
Just let me enjoy ’till its over 
Or forever
Please don’t tell me how the story ends

See the way our shadows come together
Softer than your fingers on my skin
Someday this may be all 
That we’ll remember 
Of each other
Please don’t tell me how the story ends

Watch Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge sing a duet, “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends” below:

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kris kristofferson, Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends, Rita Coolidge

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