Diamond wrote this song with Robbie Robertson of The Band, who produced his Beautiful Noise album. In his memoir Testimony, Robertson explained that the song was inspired by "how many people felt after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr."
Robbie Robertson played guitar on this track, and Garth Hudson of The Band played Lowry organ. Session drummer Jim Keltner played drums, and Bob Findley played the flugelhorn and bugle.
Diamond played this live only once: at The Band's farewell concert on November 25, 1976 in San Francisco. This grand affair featured performances by Bob Dylan, Neil Young and many others; it was filmed by Martin Scorsese and released in 1978 as the documentary The Last Waltz. Diamond played just the one song in his set, and despite going on after the beloved Joni Mitchell, it went over very well.
Carla Thomas became the first woman to achieve a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 with a song she wrote herself when "Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)" reached the chart's top tier in 1961. Thomas was just 16-years-old when she penned it.