4 Songs You Didn’t Know Kris Kristofferson Wrote for Other Artists

Few songwriters have amassed the prestige that Kris Kristofferson has. His catalog is vast and beloved. His songs have been recorded countless times, leading to many of his cuts becoming hits twice or even thrice over. Getting your hands on a Kristofferson-penned tune was a coveted prize for artists in the ’70s. Today, Kristofferson’s songwriting has made him a legend and an inspiration for anyone dreaming of making it big in Nashville.

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We previously covered a few songs that Kristofferson had written for other artists, but his catalog is so extensive, we had to come back for seconds. Check our four more songs you didn’t realize were penned by Kristofferson, below.

1. “For the Good Times” (Ray Price)

Written by Kris Kristofferson

Kristofferson wrote Ray Price’s “For the Good Times” in 1968 in the wake of a breakup he had recently been through. It was recorded by Bill Nash and Kristofferson himself before it earned chart-topping success with Price.

“I felt more like he had made it a hit than the song had,” Kristofferson explained in 2007. “[He] was one of the most respected singers among the serious musicians and serious songwriters in town.”

The lyrics see Kristofferson beg his former partner to hold on to the “good times.” Let’s just be glad
We have this time to spend together / There is no need / To watch the bridges that we’re burning
, the lyrics read.

Price’s version became a No. 1 hit in the summer of 1970. Later Al Green delivered a stunning version of the track for his record, I’m Still in Love with You.

2. “Stranger” (Billy Swan)

Written by Kris Kristofferson

“Stranger” has been recorded by a number of artists since Kristofferson penned the tune in the mid-’70s. Billy Swan was the first to get his hands on it, followed by Kristofferson himself, Johnny Duncan, and a host of other country stars.

The track is classic Kristofferson fodder with a simple guitar line and narrative lyrics. The chorus reads, And she said – Stranger / Shut out the light and lead me / Somewhere – shut out the shadows, too / And while we lay there, makin’ believe you love me / Stranger, could I believe in you.

[RELATED: The Origin of The Highwaymen]

3. “To Beat the Devil” (Johnny Cash)

Written by Kris Kristofferson

Kristofferson gave “To Beat the Devil” to his fellow Highwayman, Johnny Cash, in 1969. Like many of Kristofferson’s writing credits, he promptly recorded a version of the song himself. Waylon Jennings followed suit with his own rendition.

The fact Cash recorded the tune is apt, given that he inspired the lyrics in the first place. In Kristofferson’s version, he recounts the writing process for the song, A couple of years back I come across a great and wasted friend of mine in the hallway of a recording studio. And while he was reciting some poetry to me that he had written, I saw that he was about a step away from dying, and I couldn’t help but wonder why.

He continued, And the lines of this song occurred to me. I’m happy to say he’s no longer wasted, and he’s got him a good woman. And I’d like to dedicate this to John and June, who helped showed me how to beat the devil.

4. “The Loving Gift” (Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash)

Written by Kris Kristofferson

Cash recorded yet another Kristofferson-penned tune in 1972, “The Loving Gift.” He and June Carter Cash released a duet version of the song on the album, Any Old Wind That Blows. The song cracked the top 30 on the Billboard Country Chart upon its release.

The song’s lyrics are a loving dedication to a partner—perfect for Johnny and June to sing together.

You gave me a blanket to keep me from the cold / You gave me a song I learned to sing / You showed me some beauty through the windows of your soul / And you showed me a world I’ve never seen, the opening line reads.

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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