Why? (The King of Love Is Dead)

Album: Nuff Said! (1968)
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Songfacts®:

  • This was written by Simone's bass player Gene Taylor after the news of Martin Luther King's death had reached him. She performed it at Westbury Music Fair for the first time in New York, three days after King's murder and less than 24 hours after the song was written.

    During the performance, she said, "We can't afford any more losses ... they're killing us one by one."

    Simone's performance was recorded on the live album Nuff Said!, which later received an Emmy nomination.

Comments: 1

  • Mike from Berkeley, CaThis is just about the saddest song I've ever heard. There are other lyrics that start this song:

    Once upon this planet earth,
    Lived a man of humble birth,
    Preaching love and freedom for his fellow man,

    He was dreaming of a day,
    Peace would come to earth to stay,
    And he spread this message all across the land.

    Turn the other cheek he’d plead,
    ‘Love thy neighbor’ was his creed,
    Pain, humiliation, death, he did not dread,

    With his Bible at his side,
    From his foes he did not hide,
    It’s hard to think that this great man is dead. (Oh yes)

    Will the murders never cease?
    Are they men or are they beasts?
    What do they ever hope, ever hope to gain?

    Will my country fall, stand or fall?
    Is it too late for us all?
    And did Martin Luther King just die in vain?

    ‘Cause he’d seen the mountain top,
    And he knew he could not stop,
    Always living with the threat of death ahead.

    Folks you’d better stop and think
    ‘Cause we’re heading for the brink.
    What will happen now that he is dead?

    He was for equality,
    For all people you and me,
    Full of love and good will, hate was not his way.

    He was not a violent man.
    Tell me folks if you can,
    Just why, why was he shot down the other day?

    Well see he’d seen, the mountain top.
    And he knew he could not stop,
    Always living with the threat of death ahead.

    Folks you’d better stop and think… and feel again,
    For we’re heading for the brink.
    What’s gonna happen now that the King of Love is dead?
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