12 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By 1974, Kris Kristofferson’s highly literate and hard-bitten blend of folk music, soul, and rock ’n’ roll had become its own brand. The one-time professor of English literature was not only a revered songwriter, but he had also become a full-blown movie star. Kristofferson began to process his massive success on Spooky Lady’s Sideshow, which pursues nightmarish visions of wealth, fame, and drug addiction. “Shandy (The Perfect Disguise)” and “Same Old Song” show how dreams of success can quickly turn to nightmares of pain and claustrophobia, but the album’s overall theme is best summarized by “One For the Money”: “Too many bodies in too many bars / Too many feelings are falling behind / Cause you're easy to fool when you're lost in the stars / Shoot out that spotlight before you go blind.” The imagery is as sharp as any in Kristofferson’s career, but Sideshow failed to match the sales of his previous albums. In retrospect, it is a powerful examination of disillusionment and desperation, and it contains some of the best playing and most unusual arrangements of Kristofferson’s career.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By 1974, Kris Kristofferson’s highly literate and hard-bitten blend of folk music, soul, and rock ’n’ roll had become its own brand. The one-time professor of English literature was not only a revered songwriter, but he had also become a full-blown movie star. Kristofferson began to process his massive success on Spooky Lady’s Sideshow, which pursues nightmarish visions of wealth, fame, and drug addiction. “Shandy (The Perfect Disguise)” and “Same Old Song” show how dreams of success can quickly turn to nightmares of pain and claustrophobia, but the album’s overall theme is best summarized by “One For the Money”: “Too many bodies in too many bars / Too many feelings are falling behind / Cause you're easy to fool when you're lost in the stars / Shoot out that spotlight before you go blind.” The imagery is as sharp as any in Kristofferson’s career, but Sideshow failed to match the sales of his previous albums. In retrospect, it is a powerful examination of disillusionment and desperation, and it contains some of the best playing and most unusual arrangements of Kristofferson’s career.

TITLE TIME
3:16
5:24
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3:35
3:42
3:08
3:05
3:34
3:26
5:21
3:33
4:55

About Kris Kristofferson

Even before he became a leading man in the '70s, Kris Kristofferson had already lived a life worthy of a movie. After rising to the rank of captain, the Brownsville, Texas-born Kristofferson left the army life behind in the mid-'60s to break into Nashville’s song factory, eventually working his way into Johnny Cash’s good graces while serving as a janitor at Columbia Recording Studios. But while Cash would turn the aspiring songwriter’s “Sunday Mornin' Comin’ Down” into a countrypolitan classic, Kristofferson’s crafty blend of down-and-out realism and sly, dark humor would resonate far beyond Music City: Janis Joplin ushered his hitchhiker saga “Me and Bobby McGee” into the rock canon; Gladys Knight & The Pips melted down the folksy ballad “Help Me Make It Through the Night” into smoldering, orchestral soul. And on his own '70s solo releases, Kristofferson’s unvarnished, plainspoken vocals proved every bit as compelling as his lived-in narratives, whether shining a harsh light on the booze-stenched starving-artist existence with “To Beat the Devil” or exquisitely reminiscing about an old flame on “Jody and the Kid” with a subtle grace worthy of Leonard Cohen. Kristofferson’s unwavering affinity for the raw and the real would earn him entry into the ultimate outlaw-country supergroup, the Highwaymen, where he stood alongside Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson as gatekeepers of old-school authenticity in a genre that was becoming increasingly commercialized.

  • ORIGIN
    Brownsville, TX
  • GENRE
    Country
  • BORN
    June 22, 1936

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