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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down - Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson

We open Sunday morning with the Kris Kristofferson classic, Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, though not the original featured on TTRH "Days of the Week." Our video is a Johnny Cash/Kris Kristofferson duet of the song. Cash's version, which was known by the less colloquial title of Sunday Morning Coming Down, was a #1 Billboard single in October 19 and 70 - in fact, charted during this week 37 years ago from October 10 through the 17 before being knocked off the #1 slot by Tammy Wynette's Run, Woman, Run.

The original version of the song was recorded by Ray Stevens in 19 and 69 and became Stevens' first country chart hit. Cash also sang the song on his television show Johnny Cash and Friends, ignoring censor demands that he change the "wishing, Lord, that I was stoned," line to something more wholesome.

As Our Host noted, Kristofferson earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University (Merton College, Oxford) after previously attending Pomona College in California. Less well-known are the facts that Kristofferson appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" page on amateur athletics in 19 and 58 for his achievements in rugby, football, and boxing and that he was a Captain in the U.S. Army, eventually resigning his commission in order to pursue songwriting.

He moved to Nashville, took on a variety of janitorial odd-jobs and also worked as a commercial helicopter pilot while trying to break into the music business. In an interview, Kristofferson noted, "That was about the last three years before I started performing, before people started cutting my songs... I would work a week down here [in south Louisiana] sitting on an oil platform and flying helicopters. Then I'd go back to Nashville at the end of the week and spend a week up there trying to pitch the songs, then come back down and write songs for another week... I can remember 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' I wrote sitting on top of an oil platform. I wrote 'Bobby McGee' down here, and a lot of them [in south Louisiana]."

Kristofferson was working at the Columbia Studios in Nashville during Dylan's recording of Blonde on Blonde, but while Kristofferson witnessed several of the sessions, he had no interaction with Dylan, later recalling that he would have almost certainly been fired if he had dared approach Dylan.

A renaissance man, our Kris.

Source: Kris Kristofferson Wikipedia entry.

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