Why? (The King of Love Is Dead)

  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • 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.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

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?
see more comments

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

Boz ScaggsSongwriter Interviews

The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.

Motley CrueFact or Fiction

Was Dr. Feelgood a dentist? Did the "Crüecifixion" really happen?

Harry ShearerSongwriter Interviews

Harry is Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap, Mark Shubb in The Folksmen, and Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

James Williamson of Iggy & the StoogesSongwriter Interviews

The Stooges guitarist (and producer of the Kill City album) talks about those early recordings and what really happened with David Bowie.