In 1978, on the Johnny Cash Christmas Show, Kris Kristofferson joined Johnny Cash up on the stage to perform Kristofferson’s hit track, “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.” This was truly a magical moment in country music history.
“Kris, I really want to thank you for flying in to do this show. I really appreciate it very much,” Johnny said, welcoming Kris to the stage. Cash began to introduce the song and explained, “There’s a song that Kris wrote ten years ago and I sing it, and I love it, and I’ve been singing it so long I’ve kind of claimed it all for my own, but I would really be honored if you’ll sing it with me.” Kris smiled and shyly explained, “Well, up to now that was my proudest moment of my life, but this might be the proudest.”
“Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” was composed by Kristofferson and initially recorded by Ray Stevens in 1969. Kristofferson launched his very own rendition a year later on his self-titled debut album. As you know by now, Johnny Cash later covered it, and both his and Stevens’ renditions topped the charts.
Take a look at this remarkable performance by these two country music superstars!
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.
I’d smoked my mind the night before
With cigarettes and songs I’d been picking.
But I lit my first and watched a small kid
Playing with a can that he was kicking.
Then I walked across the street
And caught the Sunday smell of someone frying chicken.
And Lord, it took me back to something that I’d lost
Somewhere, somehow along the way.
On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothing short a’ dying
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.
In the park I saw a daddy
With a laughing little girl that he was swinging.
And I stopped beside a Sunday school
And listened to the songs they were singing.
Then I headed down the street,
And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringing,
And it echoed through the canyon
Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.