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The Nina Simone Database
Why? (The King of Love Is Dead)
1968 Gene Taylor
Written by Simone's bass player Gene Taylor after the news of Martin Luther King's death (4 April 1968) had reached him. Nina performed it at Westbury Music Fair in New York, three days after his murder. Nina's performance was recorded on the live album 'Nuff Said, which later received an Emmy nomination.

We learned that song that day. We didn't have a chance to have two or three days of rehearsal. But when you're feeling compassion and outrage and wanting to express what you know the world is feeling, we did it because that's what we felt.
-Sam Waymon

Recording sessions
1968 April 7: Westbury (US-NY) Music Fair
extended version
short version
Of course this whole program is dedicated
To the memory of Dr Martin Luther King
You know that really

Once upon this planet earth
Lived a man humble birth
Preaching love and freedom
For his fellow men
He was dreaming of the day
Peace would come to earth to stay
And he spread this message
All across the land

Turn the other cheek he'd plead
Love thy neighbour was his creed
Pain humiliation death
He did not dread
With his bible at his side
From his foes he did not hide
It's hard to think
That this great man is dead oh yeah

Will the murders never cease
Are they men or are they beast
What do they ever hope
Ever hope to gain
Will my country forestand or fall
Is it too late for us all
And did Martin Luther King
Just die in vain

Cos he'd seen the mountain top
And he knew he could not stop
Always living with the threat of death ahead
Folks you'd better stop and think
Cos we're headed for the brink
What will happen now
That he is dead

He was for equality
For all people you and me
Full of love and good will
Hate was not his way
He was not a violent man
Tell me folks if you can
Just why why was he shot down
The other day

I'm gonna say
He'd seen the mountain top
And he knew he could not stop
Always living
With the threat of death ahead
Folks you better stop and think and feel again
For we're headed for the brink
What's gonna happen
Now that the King of Love is dead

(Lyrics transcription by Roger Nupie)
original unedited version
1968 June: London (UK) Granada TV
1986 December 21: Zürich (CH) Kongresshaus
2000 April 13-14: São Paulo (BR) Via Funchal
Unknown recording session
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