Story Behind the Song: ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ by Kris Kristofferson
For this segment of "The Story Behind the Song", let's talk about a song that is highly recognizable in all genres of music. And not only a tune that everyone has heard, but one that automatically makes you want to crank it up and even sing along with.
The song, "Me and Bobby McGee" was written by one of the ultimate greatest songwriters in music history, Kris Kristofferson. And was recorded by some of the best artists of all time.
The suggestion for the title came from producer and Monument Records founder Fred Foster. He was also a songwriter and is credited as the song's co-writer.
Country singer Roger Miller was the first to record the song in 1969. Gordon Lightfoot had success with the song on both the pop and country charts in Canada the following year. The Statler Brothers recorded the song and included it on an album, but never released it as a single.
And the list goes on, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition recorded it for an album. And Kristofferson himself recorded the song in 1971 for his debut album.
But I think the biggest story of all behind the song, is regarding rock and roller Janis Joplin. She was romantically involved with Kristofferson and recorded the song without him even knowing that she had until after she was gone.
The first time he heard her recording of it was the day after she sadly died of a drug overdose. It was her recording that made the song a super hit, topping the charts posthumously in 1971.