Bobby Bare and the Song that Got a Way
Like Johnny Cash, Bobby Bare was one of the people who truly believed in Kris Kristofferson. As a proof, in 1971, Bobby made two of the songs written by Kristofferson into the top ten. Kris Kristofferson told Bobby Bare about a new song he finished, “Help Me Make It Through The Night” and Bobby recorded the song. However, Mercury, Bare’s label, didn’t release the song during those time.
A few weeks later, Bobby Bare did a show in Philadelphia and there was this 27-year-old singer named Sammi Smith. Smith was already signed to Columbia Records for a couple of years during that time. Not only did she release three singles for the label, however, none became a hit. So from Columbia, she changed her label and signed a contract with Mega Records during the time of the Philadelphia concert.
Bobby Bare and Sammi Smith got into a conversation and she told him about a song that she thinks that has a real potential, “Help Me Make it Through The Night.” Her new label released the song, thereafter Mercury decided not to release Bobby Bare’s version of the song.
“Real Potential” as said by Sammi Smith was an understatement because in 1971, “Help Me Make It Through The Night” became a monster hit. In addition, it was also the biggest 1971 crossover hit. Reaching the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles Chart for only three weeks, it also peaked at No. 8 on Billboard Hot 100 Pop Chart. Sammi Smith’s success with the song also includes the awards, “Single of the Year” and the “Best Country Song” from the CMA. She also received the Grammy award for the. “Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female.”
The Writing of the Monster Hit
Kris Kristofferson wrote the song and it started when he first thought of the first line of the song. For a long time, that first line was all he got. However, the song’s inspiration came to him when he was working as a helicopter pilot. To pass time one evening, he sat down on the platform in his helicopter and started strumming the guitar. He gazed at the star and the writing of the song became easy. The title of the song was actually based on an interview that Kristofferson read. In that interview, Frank Sinatra was the star and was talking about using a bottle or a woman to get through the night.
Bill Nash was the first person to record the song. However, his version was overlooked, some of the people thought or rather felt that the song was too controversial. Some artists like Dottie West thought the song was a bit risqué, so they ended up not touching the song. On the other hand, Sammi Smith didn’t see anything wrong with the song. She was right to record the song. However, after “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” she never got another No. 1 hit.
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bobby bare, kris kristofferson, Mercury Records, Sammi Smith