King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"King Harvest (Has Surely Come)"
Song by The Band from the album The Band
Released September 22, 1969
Genre Roots rock
Length 3:39
Label Capitol
Writer Robbie Robertson
Producer John Simon
The Band track listing
"The Unfaithful Servant"
"King Harvest (Has Surely Come)"

"King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" is a song by The Band which originally appeared as the final track on their second album, The Band.

The song is credited solely to Robbie Robertson, although Levon Helm claims that "King Harvest" was a group effort.[1] It is sung in first person from the point of view of an unnamed, poverty-stricken farmer who, with increasing desperation, details the misfortune which has befallen him: there was no rain and his crops died, his barn burned down, he has ended up on skid row. A labor union organizer appears, promising to improve things, and the narrator tells his new associates "I'm a union man, now, all the way", but, perhaps ashamed of his station, begs them "just don't judge me by my shoes." The events depicted in the song are most likely a reference to the organizing drives of the Trade Union Unity League which created share-cropper unions from 1928-1935, throughout the U.S. South.

Noted rock critic Greil Marcus called it "The Band's song of blasted country hopes" and suggested that "King Harvest" might be Robertson's finest song, and the best example of the group's approach to songwriting and performing.[2] Author Neil Minturn praised its "dark, eerie earnestness."[3]

The song's structure is unusual: the verses, sung by Band vocalist Richard Manuel are energetic, while the choruses (sung by Manuel and Levon Helm) are more subdued, in contrast to typical song structure, possibly reflecting the desperate if unsure hope the protagonist holds in the union. [4]



  1. ^ Levon Helm and Stephen Davis. This Wheel's on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band
  2. ^ Marcus, Greil (1997). Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll (fourth edition). Plume. pp. 55,56. ISBN 978-0-452-27836-3. 
  3. ^ Minturn, N. (2005). The Last Waltz of the Band. Pendragon Press. p. 127. ISBN 9781576470930. 
  4. ^ Bowman, Rob, The Band, To Kingdom Come (liner notes), 1989

External links[edit]