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Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” Makes Kris Kristofferson Cry


One of the most recorded songs of all time is known to be “Me and Bobby McGee.” It has been handed down from one generation of singers to another. You can listen to different versions of the song, but the most notable of it is the recording by the late Janis Joplin.

janis joplin kris kristofferson Me and Bobby McGee
Janis Joplin/ Photo by Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Roger Miller and Other Versions

The song fell into the hands of prominent country singer Roger Miller. He recorded the song for his eponymous album. When it was released as a single, it took the No. 12 spot on the country chart. The interesting story and the well put together melody of the song hooked a lot of singers after Miller. Artists such as Loretta Lynn and even Kris Kristofferson, the songwriter, were the others who recorded the single.

Janis Joplin Owns “Me and Bobby McGee”

Despite all of the versions of the song, and no matter who recorded it, Joplin will always be associated with this single. Sadly, it was only linked to her after her death. The single was part of her album Pearl (1971). It went straight to number one on the US Hot 100 and Australian chart. Joplin’s single was also nominated in the 1972 Grammy Awards show. Furthermore, her version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.

Janis Joplin’s Version Breaks Kris Kristofferson

Kristofferson shared how he felt when he first heard Joplin’s rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee.” Kristofferson felt heaviness in his heart as he listened to the song. Every time he heard the song, he tried not to breakdown, because of how sad it felt to listen to Joplin’s voice singing such a song. The heaviness he felt lead to him and Donnie Fritts to write a song dedicated to Joplin.

“I walked all over L.A., just in tears. I couldn’t listen to the song without really breaking up. So when I came back to Nashville, I went into the Combine building late at night, and I played it over and over again, so I could get used to it without breaking up.”

The Song’s Content

The song is said to be tragic as nothing in life is certain. One day, we’ll find someone we can open up our heart to and share all of our secrets. It feels that there’s no end to the happiness felt. But, not everything lasts forever. Sooner or later, we have to face the truth that all things have to end and that’s what “Me and Bobby McGee” wants us to know. McGee and the narrator had a wonderful time together, but it seems it never lasted because McGee has to go away, and the narrator is left with beautiful yet painful memories of him.

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