Brandon Flowers started writing this song with producer Stuart Price for their 2008 Day & Age album, but was unable to finish it. He finally completed the tune nine years later with the help of Alex Cameron, a singer and songwriter from Sydney, Australia. Flowers recalled in a Facebook interview:
"The second verse was not finished and I love the first verse. I love this first verse like I've never loved a verse and so it was really difficult because I couldn't match it. And I finally had a breakthrough. I actually got some help from Alex Cameron who is a great artist coming out of Australia. And he came to Vegas and we just, we just beat ourselves up over this verse until we got it."
The Killers played the song live for the first time at the Borgata Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, on June 10, 2017.
Bob Marley has a writing credit. "I mention 'Redemption Song' in it, and his people wanted their money," Flowers explained to Billboard magazine. "I never thought I'd share a writing credit with Bob Marley, but I'll take it."