In the most recent episode of the wonderfully animated series Blank on Blank, the great Nina Simone spoke with Italian radio host Lillian Terry in 1968 about her love of clothing, her love and hope for her daughter’s future and the profound effect that the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had on her and her band.
The King Of Love Is Dead. Now, that’s composed by my bass player. Dr. King was killed on Thursday and Gene Taylor composed that tune, Friday. So it was completely inspired. In a narrative way, it is a folk song. ‘Why was he killed? It was bigotry that sealed his fate. You can shed your tears, but they won’t change a thing. Will my country ever learn, must it kill at every turn? We have to know what the consequences of these acts will bring.’. …The chorus is, ‘He had seen the mountain top.’ … His last speech, he talked about he had seen the mountaintop. He knew or thought that perhaps, his days were not long.
Nina Simone performing “Why (The King of Love is Dead)” on April 7, 1968, three days after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.
images via Blank on Blank