Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

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"Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"
Single by Ray Stevens
from the album Have a Little Talk with Myself
B-side"The Minority"
GenrePop, country
Songwriter(s)Kris Kristofferson
Producer(s)Jim Malloy, Ray Stevens
Ray Stevens singles chronology
"Along Came Jones"
"Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"
"Have a Little Talk with Myself"
"Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"
Single by Johnny Cash
from the album The Johnny Cash Show
B-side"I'm Gonna Try to Be That Way"
ReleasedMay 1970
GenreCountry, folk
Songwriter(s)Kris Kristofferson
Producer(s)Bob Johnston
Johnny Cash singles chronology
"What Is Truth"
"Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"
"Flesh and Blood"

"Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" is a song written by Kris Kristofferson that was recorded in 1969 by Ray Stevens before becoming a number one hit on the Billboard US Country charts for Johnny Cash.


Stevens' version of the song reached number 55 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and number 81 on the Hot 100 pop chart in 1969. It also appeared on the author's own album Kristofferson.

Johnny Cash's version[edit]

The biggest success for the song came from the Johnny Cash performance, which had been taped live at the Ryman Auditorium during a taping of The Johnny Cash Show as part of a "Ride This Train" segment, with filmed background visuals showing a down and out wanderer roaming around the Public Square area of Shelbyville, Tennessee. Cash introduced the song with the following monologue:

"You know, not everyone who has been on 'the bum' wanted it that way. The Great Depression of the 30s set the feet of thousands of people—farmers, city workers—it set 'em to ridin' the rails. My Daddy was one of those who hopped a freight train a couple of times to go and look for work. He wasn't a bum. He was a hobo but he wasn't a bum. I suppose we've all....all of us 'been at one time or another 'drifter at heart', and today like yesterday there's many that are on that road headin' out. Not searchin' maybe for work, as much as for self-fulfillment, or understanding of their life...trying to find a *meaning* for their life. And they're not hoppin' freights much anymore. Instead they're thumbin' cars and diesel trucks along the highways from Maine to Mexico. And many who have drifted...including myself...have found themselves no closer to peace of mind than a dingy backroom, on some lonely Sunday morning, with it comin' down all around you."

With the monologue edited off, it would appear on the soundtrack LP The Johnny Cash Show the following year, as well as being issued as a single (Columbia Records 4-45211). Cash's version won the Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year in 1970 and hit number one on the country chart.[1]

This version was used in 1974 for the Columbo episode Swan Song where Cash performed it during a garden party.

Other versions[edit]

Lynn Anderson recorded a version - with some lyrics slightly changed to represent a female's point of view - on her 1970 album Rose Garden.

Sammi Smith recorded a version for her 1970 album He's Everywhere.

Roy Clark included a version on his 1970 album I Never Picked Cotton.

Telly Savalas recorded a version on his 1975 self–titled album.[2]

Frankie Laine recorded a version for his 1977 British album Life is Beautiful.

Shawn Mullins included a version on his 1998 album Soul's Core.[3]

Crooked Fingers, fronted by Eric Bachmann of Archers of Loaf, had been playing the song in concert for years before recording it for their 2002 covers album Reservoir Songs.

In 2006 the band Me First And The Gimme Gimmes included a version on their album Love Their Country.

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded a version for his 2010 album Mean Old Man.

Willie Nelson included it on his 1971 album Willie Nelson and Family, his 1979 album Sings Kristofferson, and more recently on his 2011 album Remember Me, Vol. 1.[citation needed]

Gretchen Wilson recorded her version of the song on the Kris Kristofferson tribute The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson in 2006 to celebrate Kristofferson's 70th birthday.[4]

According to Kristofferson, Cash was told to change the line "I'm wishing Lord that I was stoned" when he performed it on his TV show, but he refused to comply.[5] In a 2013 interview, Kristofferson said the song "opened up a whole lot of doors for me. So many people that I admired, admired it. Actually, it was the song that allowed me to quit working for a living."[6]

Phil "Swill" Odgers from The Men They Couldn't Hang recorded a version for his 2013 solo album "The Godforsaken Voyage".

The Handsome Family covered the song on their 2002 odds and ends compilation album Smothered and Covered.

Waylon Jennings recorded his version of the song for his 1971 album The Taker/Tulsa.

Chart performance[edit]

Ray Stevens[edit]

Chart (1969) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 55
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 81
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 46
Canadian RPM Top Singles 59

Johnny Cash[edit]

Chart (1970) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 46
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[11] 13
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 30


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 75.
  2. ^ ""Telly Savalas" at discogs". discogs. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Soul's Core". Allmusic. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  4. ^ "Wilson Covers "Sunday Morning Coming Down"". CMT News. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  5. ^ Commentary on DVD release The Johnny Cash TV Show 1969-1971, Sony Columbia Legacy, 2007
  6. ^ Kris Kristofferson On Writing For — And Outliving — His Idols
  7. ^ "Ray Stevens Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Ray Stevens Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Johnny Cash Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Johnny Cash Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 44.

External links[edit]