Sunday Morning Comin’ Down was written by Kris Kristofferson and released in 1969, first by Ray Stevens, and then Johnny Cash, whose version reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles.
Kristofferson attended Pomona College where he received a BA in literature. He is a Rhodes Scholar and earned an MA from Merton College at Oxford in English Literature in 1960.
Discussing the song, Kristofferson said it, “opened up a whole lot of doors for me. So many people that I admired, admired it. Actually, it was the song that allowed me to quit working for a living.”
My parents had an eight-track tape of Kris Kristofferson with both Sunday Morning Comin’ Down and Me and Bobby McGee. My father purchased it after he and mom were enchanted by Janis Joplin’s cover of the latter.
I’m not going to pontificate on the pain the song brings to life. I’m not going to even discuss how it makes me feel. Instead here are the lyrics and a link to a live recording of the song by the author.
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Sunday Morning Comin’ Down
Well, I woke up Sunday morning
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.