Good Christian Soldier

Album: The Silver Tongued Devil and I (1971)

Songfacts®:

  • By the time he recorded the The Silver Tongued Devil and I, Kris Kristofferson was an accomplished songwriter, with the hits "Help Me Make It Through The Night" and "Sunday Morning Coming Down" under his belt. This is one of his few songs of that era that he did not write. "Good Christian Soldier" is credited to the Texas songwriter Billy Joe Shaver and the singer Bobby Bare.

    According to Shaver, however, Bare had nothing to do with writing the song but managed to put his name on it and earn the royalties. Shaver told us: "When something good would come along, Bobby would put his name on it. That's the way it worked back then. When you'd first come to town the publisher would usually get half the song. But there was a lot of them that I'd bowed to about, and there were some I'd just let go. And he slid a few by me. I went out of town and Kris Kristofferson recorded 'Christian Soldier,' and I come back in town, and he had changed it to 'Good Christian Soldier,' and took half of it. So I thought, Well, that's all right. I don't care. I can always write another song. I ain't worried about that kind of stuff."
  • This song explores religion and war, and how a man of faith can become very conflicted when sent to war. Remember, this was the Vietnam era, and many young men were questioning what they were fighting for. Kristofferson was a Captain in the United States Army before heading to Nashville to pursue songwriting, so he was quite familiar with this subject.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.

Donald FagenSongwriter Interviews

Fagen talks about how the Steely Dan songwriting strategy has changed over the years, and explains why you don't hear many covers of their songs.

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillianSong Writing

A Soul Train dancer takes us through a day on the show, and explains what you had to do to get camera time.

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in SongsSong Writing

Elvis, Little Richard and Cheryl Cole have all sung about Teddy Bears, but there is also a terrifying Teddy song from 1932 and a touching trucker Teddy tune from 1976.

Bill Medley of The Righteous BrothersSongwriter Interviews

Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies.

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.