Dion – Abraham, Martin and John

Sometimes a pop song is more important than just a regular pop song…this is one of them.

Great song by Dion. This song is a tribute to those involved in the battle for civil rights. The title refers to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy. The last verse in the song refers to Bobby …JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy. Everyone mentioned in the song has died and this is symbolized by their progression over a hill.

This was written by the rockabilly singer Richard Louis Holler…better known as  Dick Holler who also wrote the novelty hit Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron. Abraham, Martin and John has been covered by artists including Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Andy Williams, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, and Moms Mabley, among others.

Dion was in bad shape when this song presented itself. He had just recovered from heroin addiction and was offered this as a possible comeback song. It peaked at #4 on Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #12 in New Zealand in 1968 and reestablished Dion in the music business.

Initially, Dion detested the song, but he has since come to understand its legacy. Later on, Dion claimed to have received over 4,000 letters thanking him for recording this song.

Dion: “I realized that what these four guys had in common was a dream… It was like they had the courage to believe that a state of love really can exist.”

Abraham, Martin and John

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

Has 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 die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone

Has 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 die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone

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
Someday soon, it’s gonna be
One day

Has 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

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Dion – Abraham, Martin and John”

  1. I’ve liked this from the time I first heard it. it’s simple, kind of repetitive (which in this case really worked well), and the bridge verse gets me all the time…

    Didn’t you love the things that they stood for?
    Didn’t they try to find some good in you and me?
    And we’ll be free…
    Someday soon, we’re gonna be one…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I didn’t know Dion went through heroin addiction, and he was mostly done with the music biz by that time. His material and style had gone out of style. It was a perfect song to bring him back, and he took advantage of it. It is an excellent tune with a good message.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It sounds like this tune came to Dion at the right time in his career. I’m happy for him it did! Dion, who for the past 15 years or so has focused on the blues and released a series of related albums, is still going strong at now 83 years. His most recent album “Stomping Ground”, which came out in Nov 2021, is a fun listening experience!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I used to think that it must have been a different Dion than the one who sang The Wanderer cuz he sounds so different. I didn’t know he could sing this well.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Why do they all do that when they get old? They all start doing blues when they get old. I guess it makes sense though cuz I always thought that blues sounds like old people’s music anyway. I mean like straight up blues. It sounds so archaic to me. Like it belongs in a history museum or something. heh heh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea they seem to do that a lot. I guess because the old blues guys pulled it off that it fits them at that point. Good question though!

        Like

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