HistoryStill the Best Song Dedicated to Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Lots of blogs and publications are making posts today about the top songs dedicated to civil rights legend Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Most of them consist of the usual suspects: U2’s “In the Name of Love,” Public Enemy’s “By the Time I Get to Arizona,” Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday,” Common’s “A Dream,” etc. Sadly, most omit what I think is the deepest, most moving homage to MLK—and it’s an instrumental: Bill Cosby’s “Martin’s Funeral.” I wrote about it on Line Out three years ago, and my sentiments about this stunning 15-minute out-jazz odyssey haven’t changed.
Found on Cosby’s 1971 LP, Badfoot Brown & the Bunions Bradford Funeral & Marching Band, “Martin’s Funeral” stirs the soul with a main melody that manifests the beautiful grandeur and mourns the tragic loss of Dr. King while including percussion-heavy passages that simulate the turmoil and epic struggle of his life. In a long career of memorable cultural achievements, “Martin’s Funeral” may be Cosby’s most inspirational work—even more so than this album.