January 11

Willie Nelson Covers Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night”

Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night”

Kris Kristofferson is best known for the song he wrote, “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” His song was covered by different artists, but it was Sammi Smith who gained recognition with the song and made it popular. Her version reached number one on the Billboard country chart. Furthermore, Smith’s recording entered various charts in the U.S. such as the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart. She also won a Grammy award for her cover of “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”

The Inspiration Behind the Song

Before the song was recorded by Smith, Kristofferson released his version first in his first studio album. The song was inspired from an interview of Frank Sinatra that Kristofferson read on Esquire magazine. He first offered it to Dottie West, but she rejected it.

Other Covers

Other artists who covered the song were Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Willie Nelson. However, it was only Nelson’s version that has entered the country chart.

Willie Nelson
Photo Credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images/Time.com

Willie Nelson’s Rendition

Nelson covered the song for his album Sings Kristofferson. He released the song as a single in 1980, and the song reached number four on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Furthermore, it placed at number one on the Canadian chart. He and Smith were the only artists whose cover of “Help Me Make It Through the Night” entered the Billboard Country chart. There were other artists who covered the song, but it entered other charts.

Sings Kristofferson

Prior to the release of his single, Nelson recorded his twenty-third studio album, Sings Kristofferson. The album contains nine songs all written by Kristofferson. The album made an appearance on the Billboard 200 at number forty-two. Furthermore, it reached number one on the Canadian Country Albums chart.

Check out this top performing cover of Willie Nelson.



kris kristofferson, Willie Nelson

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