Abraham, Martin, John & Bobby – A Tribute

Abraham Martin Bobby John

esquireoct68Abraham, Martin and John” is a 1968 song written by Dick Holler and first recorded byDion. It is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change, namely Abraham LincolnMartin Luther King, Jr.John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. It was written in response to the assassinations of King and the younger Kennedy in April and June 1968.

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abraham-lincoln-picture

 

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
You know, I just looked around and he’s gone.

 

 

johnkennedy222

 

Anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked around and he’s gone.

 

 

King_Jr_Martin_Luther_093.jpg

 

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked ’round and he’s gone.

 

 

AbeMartinJohn

 

Didn’t you love the things that they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free
Some day soon, and it’s a-gonna be one day …

 

 

bobby-kennedy_69769t

 

Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill,
With Abraham, Martin and John.

 

 

abraham-martin-john-bobby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/dion/

From Wikipedia:

Abraham, Martin and John” is a 1968 song written by Dick Holler and first recorded by Dion. It is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change, namely Abraham LincolnMartin Luther King, Jr.John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. It was written in response to the assassinations of King and the younger Kennedy in April and June 1968.

Each of the first three verses features one of the men named in the song’s title, for example:

Has anybody here, seen my old friend Abraham -
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

After a bridge, the fourth and final verse mentions Robert “Bobby” Kennedy, and ends with a description of him walking over a hill with the other three men.

The original version, recorded by Dion, featured a gentle folk rock production from Phil Gernhard and arrangement from John Abbott. The feeling of the song is set with a gentle oboe and violin opening then featuring harp flourishes at multiple points, including the instrumental conclusion. The song also features a flugelhorn, an electric organ, bass, and drums. Dion felt during post production that the song needed more depth and added a track featuring him playing classical guitar notably at the bridge, lead ins and the close. Quite unlike the ethnic rock sound that Dion had become famous for in the early 1960s, and even more unlike Holler and Gernhard’s previous collaboration the 1966 novelty smash “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron“, “Abraham, Martin and John” nonetheless was a major American hit single in late 1968, reaching #4 on the U.S. pop singles chart, being awarded an RIAA gold record for selling a million copies. In Canada, it topped the charts, reaching #1 in the RPM 100 on November 25, 1968.[1] In 2001 this recording would be ranked number 248 on the RIAA‘s Songs of the Century list. The record was also popular with adult listeners, reaching #8 on Billboard’s Easy Listening survey.

In April 1969 Andy Williams, (who was, in fact, a close friend of Robert Kennedy) recorded a version on his album ‘Happy Heart’. Williams also sang this song on his show over a year after Robert Kennedy’s passing. Other famous late-1960s versions were recorded in short order by Motown‘s Smokey Robinson & the Miracles (whose cover also became an American Top 40 single in 1969, reaching #33) and Marvin Gaye (whose cover became a top-ten hit (#9) in the United Kingdom in 1970). Gaye’s version was never released in the U.S. as a single but was featured on his 1970 album, That’s the Way Love Is, and was one of his first experiments with social messages in his music which would culminate in his legendary 1971 album, What’s Going On. In addition, comedian Moms Mabley performed a version that hit the U.S. Top 40, reaching #35 in 1969 and earning her the distinction of being the oldest person to appear on a Hot 100 top 40 hit, a record that still stands. This version was featured on the soundtrack ofBrazilian soap opera Beto Rockfeller (1968–1969). Harry Belafonte recorded the song for his 1970 album Belafonte by Request. Soul singer Wilson Pickett recorded a version of the song in 1970 titled Cole, Cooke and Redding in which the lyrics were changed to pay tribute to deceased performers Nat “King” ColeSam Cooke and Otis Redding. In 1970, Leonard Nimoy covered a version of this song in his album The New World of Leonard Nimoy.

During a 1981 tour, Bob Dylan sang the song in concert.

Subsequently, various artists have performed or recorded their renditions of the song, including the likes of Bon Jovi and Emmylou Harris, who performed it as part of a medley with the Nanci Griffith song “It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go” on her 1992 At the Ryman concert recording. Marillion have played the song in acoustic and electric versions; one such hybrid performance can be heard on their 1999 Unplugged at the Walls album.

Tori Amos performed the song at four of her concerts during the On Scarlet’s Walk Tour in 2003, including Hamburg, Germany on 23 January 2003.[2]

Paul Weller recorded an acoustic version of the song during the sessions for his 1992 record Paul Weller. It went unreleased until a deluxe edition of the record was issued in 2009.

Dion:

Dion Francis DiMucci (born July 18, 1939), better known mononymously as Dion, is an American singer-songwriter whose work has incorporated elements of doo-wop, pop oldies music, rock and R&B styles to straight blues in his recent work.

One of the most popular American rock and roll performers of the pre-British Invasion era, Dion had over a dozen Top 40 hits in the late 1950s and early 60s. He is best remembered for the 1961 singles “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer”.

Due to changing public tastes and personal problems, Dion faltered in the mid-1960s; he regained popularity later in the decade and into the early 1970s with more mature, contemplative material such as “Abraham, Martin & John”. He has continued making music to the present, earning reappraisals from critics who earlier dismissed him as a teen idol

 

Marvin Gaye – Abraham, Martin & John (& Bobby)

Whitney Houston- Abraham, Martin & John (digital) hi*fi

Mom’s Mabley – Merv Griffin Show – 1969

Moms Mabley was an x-rated comedienne on the Chitlin circuit of the ’30s and ’40s but by the ’60s she had played Carnegie Hall. In the summer of 1969 she became the oldest person in history to have a hit song in the Top 40. Here she gives a very moving performance of that song, “Abraham, Martin & John.” Merv Griffin had over 5000 guests appear on his show from 1963-1986. Footage from the Merv Griffin Show is available for licensing to all forms of media through Reelin’ In The Years Productions. www.reelinintheyears.com.

BON JOVI Abraham Martin and John New Jersey 2001

Sammy Davis, Jr.

 

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