Abraham, Martin and John is a 1968 song written by Dick Holler and first recorded by Dion. It is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. It was written in response to the assassination of King and that of Robert Kennedy in April and June 1968, respectively.
It has been covered by many artists, among them are Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan.
Bob Dylan did the song live in 1980 and 1981, here is a great clip, with Clydie king, from the DVD/film, Trouble no more: A musical film:
The original version, recorded by Dion, featured a gentle folk rock production from Phil Gernhard and arrangement from John Abbott. The feeling of the song is set with a gentle oboe and violin opening then featuring harp flourishes at multiple points, including the instrumental conclusion. The song also features a flugelhorn, an electric organ, bass, and drums. Dion felt during post production that the song needed more depth and added a track featuring him playing classical guitar notably at the bridge, lead ins and the close.
Here is Dion’s version live on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: