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Bobby McGee Kris Kristofferson Janis Joplin

Updated on January 12, 2015
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Bobby McGee

County Music's Icon Kris Kristofferson's Bobby McGee is a very popular song recorded by many artists since it was written by Kristofferson in 1969, including the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Dolly Parton, Allison Crowe, Joan Baez and Elvis Presley,

Janis Joplin is often associated with Bobby McGee which was a number one hit featured on her album Pearl, which she sang and played acoustic guitar.

Learn more about this classic. If it wasn't one of your favorite songs, maybe it will become one.

Bobby McGee is a Classic!

Is Bobby McGee one of your favorite songs?

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Message to Love - The Isle of Wight Festival

Kristofferson performed the song live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 where he was booed off stage by an unruly crowd.

This documentary by Murray Lerner was shot in 1970, but for many reasons was not shown to the public until 1995 in Great Britain. The DVD includes various artists, backstage shots and and interview with the director. It is a a rock & roll movie that also includes shots of the increasingly testy relationship between nomadic hippies and the program producers. It seems the concert goers resented having to pay for their tickets, thinking the concert should be free.

Kris Kristofferson - Isle of Wight Festival 1970 - Me and Bobby McGee

"If it sounds country, well..that's what it is!"

— K.K.

Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge : Me And Bobby McGee (1978)

Interview with Kristofferson

At the time he wrote Bobby McGee, Kristofferson said he was living in a condemned building when someone broke in one day while he was gone and trashed the place and stole what little he had to steal. Everything was gone! He had lost his family and wife and was disowned by parents.

He said it was a very liberating feeling...not having anything was liberating. No way to go but up.

Pat, this is one of my favorite songs of all time. I liked it a lot, but didn't grok it until I was bankrupted and divorced in the same year. Then I understood it on a gut level that I'll never forget. Losing everything that was important to me gave me another chance to redefine myself and grow in new ways. "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Act on your dream! JD 2009

— JD 2009

Although I do love the song, I am more of a fan of the man himself. It is amazing to hear his story. He has lived a very interesting life. kdlovett 2012

— kdlovett 2012

Janis Records Bobby McGeee

Bobby Newarth, co-writer of Joplin's a cappella hit "Mercedes Benz," having heard the song originally performed by Roger Miller, taught Janis Joplin the song while Kris was in Peru making a film with Dennis Hopper. He sang the song in that film.

Bobby Newarth introduced Kris to Janis later (where they lived in her house for about a month). They became friends but he never heard her sing the song until after she died.
(From interview with Kristofferson on NPR's Fresh Air)

Janis was known as "The Queen of Psychedelic Soul" and was known as "Pearl" among her friends

Janis Joplin 1970 - Publicity photo

Janis Joplin Public Domain Publicity photo of Janis Joplin. |
Janis Joplin Public Domain Publicity photo of Janis Joplin. |

Inspired by a Fellini film, Kris Kristofferson wrote a classic road story that became a chart-topper for Janis Joplin, who recorded it days before her death.

Pearl By Janis Joplin

This album includes Kristofferson's Me And Bobby McGee. Kris never heard her sing the song until after her death.

In 2009, it was ranked number 125 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Other songs on the album include Mercedes Benz, Cry Baby.and Try (Just A Little Bit Harder) (Live).

Somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away.

— Bobby McGee

RARE 1st Studio Recording Of "Me & Bobby McGee" Janis Joplin

Me and Bobby McGee

Lyrics as sung by Janis Joplin

ME & BOBBY MCGEE Words and music by Kris Kristofferson This song was first popularized by Roger Miller in 1969 (#12 Country hit) The lyrics as recorded by Janis Joplin on the 1971 album "Pearl" click Lyrics Depot

Have a comment about the song, about this lens or just want to say hi? I want to hear from you!

© 2015 Pat

Are You A Fan Of Bobby McGee?

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    • card lady 2 profile image
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      Pat 3 years ago from Midwest, USA

      @CampingmanNW: Thank you!

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 3 years ago

      Nice job

    • kdlovett profile image

      kdlovett 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such an interesting part of his story.

    • kdlovett profile image

      kdlovett 6 years ago

      Although I do love the song, I am more of a fan of the man himself. It is amazing to hear his story. He has lived a very interesting life.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh what fun. I love that song. 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Pat, this is one of my favorite songs of all time. I liked it a lot, but didn't grok it until I was bankrupted and divorced in the same year. Then I understood it on a gut level that I'll never forget. Losing everything that was important to me gave me another chance to redefine myself and grow in new ways. "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Act on your dream! JD

    • profile image

      Bill_D 9 years ago

      My favorite janis song!

    • sewjr24 profile image

      sewjr24 9 years ago

      Lensrolling back at ya! You're now officially lensrolled on my Grateful Dead lens and on my Touch of Grey lens. Got some stars coming you're way too! Great lens!!!

    • profile image

      MaartenC 9 years ago

      Lensrolled you to my Janis Joplin lens! Great lens here! - Thoring stars @ you -