Of Note

"A World under the Gun"

(by Kris Kristofferson)*

Break a man, break a promise
Break a heart, break a home
Take a long hard look at a heaven
Gone to hell under the gun

See the child, young and hungry
Growing wild, on the run
And he'll die reaching for freedom
He was born under the gun

Swollen men, blind with power
Break the rules, one by one
With their lies, raising the danger
Of their games under the gun

No more time, no more chances
No more wars will be won
In the end only the losers
Hold the land under the gun

Hold the truth like a candle
Let it shine like the sun
On the love that's left to believe in
In a world under the gun

Kris Kristofferson was born into a military family in Brownsville, Texas, in 1936. A former Rhodes scholar and Oxford student, he went on active military duty, attended jump school and helicopter flight school in Georgia, and later accepted an assignment to go to career school and then teach English at West Point.

Increasingly weary of the military life, he left the Army and moved to Nashville in 1965, releasing his first songs, "Killing Time" and "Golden Idol", without much impact. By the end of the 1960s, Kristofferson - admiring Dylan, Cash and Haggard - saw his breakthrough with melancholic ballads; among his early successes were "Sunday Morning Coming Down" (interpreted by Johnny Cash), "Me and Bobby McGee" (Janis Joplin), "For the Good Times" (Ray Price), and "Help Me Make It Through The Night" (Sammi Smith). Though considered by many a much better songwriter than singer, Kristofferson soon became a popular singer as well. Some of his song lines literally achieved proverb status, for instance, "freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose" (from "Me and Bobby McGee"), and "loving her was easier than anything I'll ever do again" (from "Loving Her Was Easier").

After a series of highly acclaimed recordings, many of them with then-wife Rita Coolidge, Kristofferson increasingly turned to express his concern for human freedoms - beginning with the album "Third World Warrior" of 1990. The lyrics above are taken from his 1995 release with Texas-based indie label Justice Records, "A Moment of Forever"


(*)Source: Kris Kristofferson (1995): A Moment of Forever, Houston, TX : Justice Records. Lyrics by Kris Kristofferson and G. Clark.