Music

Kris Kristofferson on ‘Profound’ Religious Experience That Inspired ‘Why Me’

Kris Kristofferson earned a No. 1 hit with his 1973 gospel-country track, “Why Me”.

It was the first successful cut for Kristofferson as a solo artist, after songs like “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Me and Bobby McGee” marked him as one of the most talented songwriters in Nashville, Tenn. In this classic interview with famed country DJ Ralph Emery, Kristofferson reveals the surprising turn of events that led him to pen his career-breaking song.

During a difficult time in his life, Kristofferson attended a church service led by Rev. Jimmie Rogers Snow.

“I had a profound religious experience during the session,” Kristofferson said. “Something that had never happened to me before.” Kristofferson goes on to speak about a feeling of being completely overtaken during the service.

“I found myself weeping in public. I felt this forgiveness that I didn’t even know I needed.”

The now-legendary track was performed by Elvis during almost every live performance from 1974 to his last concert tour. It was also later recorded by George Jones, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash.

You can watch the fascinating interview in the video above, which features a performance of the song by Kristofferson, with harmonies by Willie Nelson and Janie Fricke. 

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Kris Kristofferson on ‘Profound’ Religious Experience That Inspired ‘Why Me’