Help Me Make It Through The Night – Sammi Smith

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………………….on the 14th of March 1972 “Help Me Make It Through The Night” is a double-winner during the 14th annual Grammy awards in New York, claiming Best Country Song for Kris Kristofferson and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, for Sammi Smith. This #1 Country hit was written by songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson. As the story goes, Kristofferson was sweeping floors and emptying ashtrays at Columbia Records in Nashville before scoring big with this, as well as a series of other songs, which included “Me And Bobby McGee” (a #1 hit and an enduring Rock classic for the late Janis Joplin), “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “For the Good Times,” and “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again).” Kristofferson was a Golden Gloves boxer, a Phi Beta Kappa college graduate, and a Rhodes Scholar who spent time at Oxford University in England before becoming a commercial helicopter pilot. But his first love was country songwriting. He turned down a teaching position at West Point to work as a janitor at Columbia, trying to break into the music business. Break in he indeed did. But it took some persistence and theatrics. For example, he is said to have landed a helicopter in Johnny Cash’s yard to get the famous Country singer’s attention so he could hand over some demo tapes of his original songs. Persistence and unconventional tactics paid off handsomely for the multi-talented Kristofferson.This song saw a recording boom throughout the ’70s after Kristofferson and Smith released their versions at the start of the decade, including covers from Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joan Baez, Ray Price to name but a few. Willie Nelson had a #4 Country hit with this song in 1980. Kristofferson got the idea for this song after reading an Esquire interview with Frank Sinatra. When asked what he believed in, Frank replied, “Booze, broads, or a bible… whatever helps me make it through the night.” The song was also a crossover hit peaking at #8 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop Chart.