Nina Simone – Why? (The King of Love is Dead)

In 1968, right after the assassination of the great Martin Luther King, Nina Simone wrote the song Why? (The King of Love is Dead). Winner of a Nobel Prize...

In 1968, right after the assassination of the great Martin Luther King, Nina Simone wrote the song Why? (The King of Love is Dead). Winner of a Nobel Prize for his incredible fight and achievements against racial discrimination in America, Luther King was loved and admired by those who believed in equality for all, such as Nina who was as well a civil rights activist. Her admiration for Luther King inspired her to write the melancholic song. The song was written by Nina Simone’s bass player, Gene Taylor, and performed by Simone just one day after, with no rehearsal. During the performance, Simone uttered these strong words “We cannot afford to lose anyone else, they’re killing us one by one.

Why? (The King of Love is Dead) is a great example of a song that was created from the heart, with deep feelings of love and loss. Certainly an inspiring song that makes us want to follow the path of a man who wanted nothing more than a better world for everyone.

Once upon this planet earth,
Lived a man of humble birth,
Preaching love and freedom for his fellow man,

He was dreaming of a 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 neighbor 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 yes)

Will the murders never cease,
Are thy men or are they beasts?
What do they ever hope, ever hope to gain?

Will my country fall, stand 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 heading 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?

Well see 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…and feel again,
For we’re heading for the brink.
What’s gonna happen now that the king of love is dead?

Nina Simone – Why? (The King of Love is Dead)
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Sounds from the Bucket
Silvie Vale

Passionate about LGBT issues and human rights, Silvie Vale has recently graduated in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark. She is specialized in Global Gender Studies and is particularly interested in creating awareness about matters of social justice. She loves travelling, researching and learning new things.
    3 Comments on this post.
  • Roger Hawcroft
    7 September 2015 at 6:07 pm
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    I’ve never heard another singer with such perfect phrasing ..

  • Vincent
    7 January 2016 at 1:41 pm
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    This song was apparently written by Nina’s bass player, Gene Taylor.

    • WiB Team
      WiB Team
      7 January 2016 at 2:18 pm
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      Interesting comment Vincent. Do you have some more info, in that case we could improve the content and add this information. Thankyou!

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