MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Veteran singer Sam Moore of the soul duo Sam & Dave is releasing a song in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. to coincide with the anniversary of the civil rights leader’s death.
Known as the “Legendary Soul Man,” Moore teamed with producer Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and studio musicians to record “They Killed a King” in Memphis in January. Mitchell is the son of the late Willie Mitchell, an influential producer who worked with soul artist Al Green and others at Hi Records in Memphis.
The song is being released Friday, the 46th anniversary of King’s assassination. King was shot while standing on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
Moore and his Sam & Dave singing partner, the late Dave Prater Jr., recorded several soul and R&B hits such as “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Comin’” at Stax Records. “They Killed a King” is reminiscent of those songs, with a prominent horn section and upbeat rhythm. Moore’s voice stills sounds strong and soulful.
The song was written by Bobbejaan Schoepen, a Belgian, and musician Mel Turner in the aftermath of King’s assassination. The song’s chorus says of King: “You know he fought for love and freedom, he fought for all mankind.”
Moore knew King and performed at many of his speeches and rallies. He said he wanted to record the song to remind people of King’s message of peace, equality and respect.
“I’m just an old-fashioned gospel singer that honoured him and respected him and his memory,” Moore told The Associated Press on Monday.
Moore is scheduled to perform “They Killed a King” at Stax Academy in Memphis on April 26.