Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge – Help Me Make it Through The Night (1972)


Kristofferson released his second album — The Silver Tongued Devil and I—in 1971. It included “Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)“. This success established Kristofferson’s career as a recording artist. Soon after, Kristofferson made his acting debut in The Last Movie (directed by Dennis Hopper), and appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival. A portion of his Isle of Wight performance is featured on the three disc compilation, The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies. In 1971, he acted in Cisco Pike, and released his third album, Border Lord. The album was all-new material and sales were sluggish. He also swept the Grammy Awards that year with numerous songs nominated, winning country song of the year for “Help Me Make It Through the Night”. Kristofferson’s 1972 fourth album, Jesus Was a Capricorn, initially had slow sales, but the third single, “Why Me“, was a success and significantly increased album sales. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA on November 8, 1973.

In 1972, Kristofferson appeared with Rita Coolidge on British TV on BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test, performing a physically intimate version of “Help Me Make It Through the Night”. Also in 1972, Al Green released his version of “For the Good Times” on the album I’m Still in Love with You.

In November 1970, she met Kris Kristofferson at the Los Angeles airport when they were both catching the same flight to Tennessee. Instead of continuing to his intended destination in Nashville, he got off in Memphis with her. The two married in 1973, had a child in 1974, and recorded several duet albums, which sold well and earned the duo a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1974 for “From the Bottle to the Bottom”, and in 1976 for “Lover Please“.

Coolidge’s greatest success on the pop charts came during 1977–1978 with four consecutive top 25 hits, remakes of Jackie Wilson‘s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher“, Boz Scaggs‘ “We’re All Alone“, the Temptations‘ “The Way You Do The Things You Do“, and Marcia Hines‘ “You“. Coolidge and Kristofferson divorced in June 1980. Their daughter and her only child, Casey Kristofferson (also a musician), was born in 1974. Their marriage deteriorated after she miscarried her second child in 1977. In her memoir, Delta Lady, Coolidge described her marriage to Kristofferson as volatile due to his alcoholism and infidelity. She revealed he was also emotionally abusive and would belittle her talent. When they divorced she did not ask him for anything. However, in 2016 Coolidge told People that she and Kristofferson still shared a bond.