Margo Price both builds up and tears down her heroes in the previously unreleased song “Long Live the King.” A regular part of her live shows, the track has never appeared on an album and arrives Wednesday as the first installment of Price’s new mail-order record club. It’s also available digitally.
In the first verse, Price sings about Elvis Presley’s last night alive — singing Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain” and taking pills before succumbing to a heart attack on August 16th, 1977. “The king is dead/he’s long gone,” Price sings in the chorus, before drawing out the line “long live the king.”
Martin Luther King Jr. is the focus of the second verse — “they murdered him like Christ cause he had a dream” — which features the introduction of a background choir. After a guitar solo, Price shifts her gaze to John Lennon, pointing out he was both “a feminist and an asshole,” but risked his fame and, ultimately his life, for “love and peace.”
“Long Live the King” kicks off A Series of Rumors, Price’s record club. Members of the mail-order program will receive three monthly shipments, beginning with a box of 7″ vinyl records that includes outtakes from her latest album, That’s How Rumors Get Started.
“‘Long Live The King’ is a song about three extraordinary men who changed the course of history for the better,” Price says in a statement. “But no one is without flaw and they each had a duality in their personalities. This song is also about not idolizing celebrities or putting people up on a pedestal because we are all human and we all make mistakes.”
The Nashville singer-songwriter will perform at the Caverns Above Ground in Pelham, Tennessee, on May 28th. She and her band the Price Tags have various festival dates slotted throughout the summer.