ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sunday Morning Coming Down, written by Kris Kristofferson - Review

Updated on February 11, 2017
Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson | Source

On the surface, the song Sunday Morning Coming Down sounds just like what it is: the story of a performer who had a gig on Saturday night and woke up the next morning hung over from too much booze and cigarettes. But it’s more than that: it resonates with anyone not plugged into a secure, predictable and steady social structure, to the lonely or disaffected who may feel themselves on the outside looking in. The song reveals author Kris Kristofferson’s talent as a poet, with lines like “… it took me back to something that I’d lost somehow somewhere along the way” and “somewhere far away a lonesome bell was ringing / and it echoed through the canyon / like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.” It is full of sensory images – a father with his young daughter, a solitary kid kicking a can down the street, the sound of Sunday school kids singing hymns, the smell of frying chicken, all of which serve to underscore the isolation of the singer, revealed in the chorus line: “cause there’s something ‘bout a Sunday / Makes a body feel alone.”

Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson

Kristofferson has written a lot of songs for a variety of artists -- including Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby Magee -- and has made his mark with his own hits, including Help Me Make It Though the Night, but his very best song may be Sunday Morning Coming Down, first recorded in 1969 by Ray Stevens and then by Kristofferson himself in 1970. The song really took off that same year when Johnny Cash got hold of it and took it to number 1 on the country charts. Here’s a rendition of Cash and a clearly pleased, perhaps somewhat awed young Kristofferson singing the song:

Trisha Yearwood and Kris Kristofferson

With all the hints of a dissolute life – “my cleanest dirty shirt,” “no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt,” a reference to two beers for breakfast -- it sounds like a song made to be sung by a man, and someone way down on his luck, at that, but Trisha Yearwood put the lie to that notion in her version of the song, sung at a Johnny Cash tribute in 1999, with Kris Kristofferson accompanying her on the guitar:

It’s hard to listen to the song without coming to tears – the raw honesty of every single line, including the ending lines of the refrain, “There ain’t nothing short of dying’ / half as lonesome as the sound / on the sleeping city sidewalks / Sunday mornin’ comin’ down” – and the song’s eternal association with Johnny Cash, whom the world lost in September of 2003. Maybe the best rendition of the song was given by Kris Kristofferson himself at a memorial concert for Johnny Cash in September of 2003, where he said about Cash, “Bob Dylan said, ‘John was the north star, and you could guide your ship by him.’”

Kris Kristofferson's Tribute to Johnny Cash


For the full lyrics to "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, click on Cowboy Lyrics.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)