Kris Kristofferson performing "Help Me Make It Through The Night" in front of a pleased crowd.
The other night I saw Kris Kristofferson perform live in my home town Gothenburg in Sweden. It was a pretty intimate affair, just Kris with his guitar on stage, singing around 30 of his songs during one and a half hour.
I thought he was pretty cool, attacking his old hits with a song-talking style that went well with the audience. Being an Elvis fan, the highlights to me were of course "Help Me Make It Through The Night" (which he ended jokingly singing"Help me make it through tonight") and the last song before the encore, a nice version of "For The Good Times."
Home again I looked up Kris Kristofferson in my copy of the excellent FTD book Writing For The King, to see what Kris had to say about Elvis recording these two songs. Here are some excerpts:
"I was in Bob Beckham's office at Combine Music in Nashville when I first heard Elvis' version of "Help Me Make It Through The Night." We played it and it was just like being at church ... The fact that it was Elvis singing your song was an honor ... I just liked his approach ... I mean, "Help me make it through the night"; I'm sure he could have identified with that emotion."
"I didn't know Elvis had recorded "For The Good Times." I heard him sing it in a documentary; I think he was singing it in the limo or something. (laughs) Elvis made the song his own. I felt he was drawing from his own experience and could really get inside the song ... There were other artists at the time that couldn't fit into the song and make it theirs like he did. I think it was just a natural rhythm he had."
Read more about Kris Kristofferson's impressive career