In 1973, Kris Kristofferson achieved his only significant breakthrough in the country music scene as a solo artist with the chart-topping success of “Why Me Lord.” The song not only secured the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart but also reached a respectable position at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100.
This soulful track was featured on the album “Jesus Was a Capricorn” and was notable for the backing vocals provided by his then-wife, the talented singer-songwriter Rita Coolidge, along with contributions from country artist Larry Gatlin. The gospel-infused nature of the song has resonated over the years, prompting various artists to offer their interpretations. Renowned musicians such as Elvis Presley, George Jones, David Allan Coe, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and many more have released their renditions of this timeless piece.
Kris Kristofferson Wrote This During an Emotionally Low Period in His Life
In the early 1970s, Kris Kristofferson’s songs were gaining widespread popularity, but what many didn’t realize was that the country star was going through a tough time personally.
After performing alongside other country singers, Kristofferson decided to join friends at Jimmie Snow’s church. Little did he know that this visit would lead to a profound religious experience, something entirely new for him.
During Pastor Jimmie’s call for those feeling lost, Kristofferson, who wasn’t a regular churchgoer, hesitated but raised his hand. The pastor then invited anyone ready to embrace Jesus, prompting Kristofferson to stand up and walk to the front of the church. The exact words of the pastor have faded from Kristofferson’s memory, but the emotions are vivid—tears, a sense of forgiveness he hadn’t known he needed.
This transformative moment exceeded Kristofferson’s expectations and gave life to “Why Me Lord.” The song, born from this experience, became a powerful reflection of the emotions he felt in that church.
If you’re interested, you can listen to the song in the video below. Over the years, the country icon has made it a tradition to close his concerts with this heartfelt gospel tune.