They Killed Him

  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is an elegy to Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus Christ, who were all killed after leading lives of peace and service.

    A US Army veteran, Kristofferson took a political turn on his 1986 album Repossessed, where he set out to "address issues that I think are important." He became staunch supported of liberal causes in his later years and openly opposed the Gulf Wars of 1990 and 2003. His positions put him at odds with many in the country music community.
  • They don't get a verse, but Kristofferson mentions the "brothers Kennedy" in the last line, a reference to John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert, who were both assassinated.
  • Johnny Cash was the first to record this song, releasing it as the B-side of this "The Three Bells" single in 1984. He was accompanied by The Carter Family on his version. Cash and Kristofferson were good friends and were both members of The Highwaymen along with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Kristofferson wrote one of Cash's most famous songs: "Sunday Morning Coming Down."
  • Kristofferson performed the song at Farm Aid in 1985, introducing it by saying, "Here's one for the heroes."
  • A forebear to this song is Dion's 1968 hit "Abraham, Martin and John," which is about Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, all of whom were killed.
  • Bob Dylan recorded this song for his 1986 album Knocked Out Loaded.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Second Wind SongsSong Writing

Some songs get a second life when they find a new audience through a movie, commercial, TV show, or even the Internet.

Victoria WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

Despite appearances on Carson, Leno and a Pennebaker film, Williams remains a hidden treasure.

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

Tom Johnston from The Doobie BrothersSongwriter Interviews

The Doobies guitarist and lead singer, Tom wrote the classics "Listen To The Music," "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."

Black SabbathFact or Fiction

Dwarfs on stage with an oversize Stonehenge set? Dabbling in Satanism? Find out which Spinal Tap-moments were true for Black Sabbath.

Jesus Christ Superstar: Ted Neeley Tells the Inside StorySong Writing

The in-depth discussion about the making of Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neeley, who played Jesus in the 1973 film.