July 20

The Story Behind The Biggest Hit In Kris Kristofferson’s Career, “Why Me Lord” 

In 1973, Kris Kristofferson earned his lone major country hit as a solo recording artist when “Why Me Lord” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart while peaking at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It was released on the album Jesus Was a Capricorn, and featured backing vocals by his then-wife, singer-songwriter Rita Coolidge as well as country artist Larry Gatlin. Since then, several artists have released their own rendition of this gospel-tinged song. This includes Elvis Presley, George Jones, David Allan Coe, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and many others.

Written During An Emotionally Low Period Of Kris Kristofferson’s Life

In the early 1970s, Kris Kristofferson songs became very well known. But what most people did not know is that the country star was at a low point in his life. 

So, after performing on a show with other country singers, he decided to tag along with friends to Jimmie Snow’s church, where he had a profound religious experience – something that had never happened to him before. 

When Pastor Jimmie asked the crowd if there was anyone that’s feeling lost, Kris Kristofferson – who rarely goes to church – found the notion to raise his hand. The Pastor then asked if anyone was ready to accept Jesus, so Kristofferson got up and came down to the front of the church. Though he no longer remembers the Pastor’s exact words, it’s clear in Kristofferson’s memory how he wept in public and felt the forgiveness that he didn’t know he even needed.

The moment moved him beyond he had ever imagined! And it was there that “Why Me Lord” came to life!

You can listen to the song in the video below. Throughout the years, the country icon closes his concerts with this gospel tune.


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