Me and Bobby McGee

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"Me and Bobby McGee"
Me and Bobby McGee - Roger Miller.jpg
Single by Roger Miller
from the album Roger Miller 1970
ReleasedJuly 1969
RecordedMay 16, 1969
LabelBNA 69035
Songwriter(s)Kris Kristofferson
Fred Foster
Producer(s)Jerry Kennedy
Roger Miller singles chronology
"Me and Bobby McGee"
"Where Have All the Average People Gone"

"Me and Bobby McGee" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson and songwriter Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller. A posthumously-released version by Janis Joplin topped the U.S. singles chart in 1971, making the song the second posthumously released No. 1 single in U.S. chart history after "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. Billboard ranked Joplin's version as the No. 11 song for 1971.

Other recordings of the song include those by Waylon Jennings, Grateful Dead, Kristofferson himself,[1] Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, Gordon Lightfoot, and Miranda Lambert.


The suggestion for the title came from producer and Monument Records founder Fred Foster.[1] Kristofferson did not write the song for Joplin, but it became strongly associated with her after her death.[2]


The song is the story of two drifters, the narrator and Bobby McGee. The couple hitch a ride from a truck driver and sing as they drive through the American south. They visit California and then part ways, with the song's narrator expressing sadness afterwards. Due to the singer's name never being mentioned and the name "Bobby" being easily identifiable to both sexes, the song has been recorded by both male and female singers with only minor changes needed to the lyrical content.

Recordings and notable performances[edit]

"Me and Bobby McGee"
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin.jpg
Single by Janis Joplin
from the album Pearl
B-side"Half Moon"
ReleasedJanuary 11, 1971 (1971-01-11)
RecordedSeptember 5 - October 1, 1970
GenreBlues rock, country rock
Songwriter(s)Kris Kristofferson, Fred Foster
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild

Roger Miller was the first artist to record the song and it appeared at No. 12 on the U.S. country chart in 1969.[citation needed] Gordon Lightfoot's version hit No. 13 on the pop music chart and No. 1 country music chart in his native country of Canada in 1970.[citation needed] The song was included on a Statler Brothers album but was not released as a single.

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition recorded the song (with Rogers on lead vocals) and released it on their album Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town in 1969.

Joplin recorded the song for inclusion on her Pearl album only a few days before her death in October 1970. Studio musician Stephen Ryder manned the keyboard for that session, and famously "Got a little carried away."[citation needed] Kristofferson had sung the song for her, and singer Bob Neuwirth taught it to her. Kristofferson did not know she had recorded it until after her death. The first time he heard her recording of it was the day after she died.[3] Joplin's version topped the charts to become her only number one single and in 2004, her version of this song was ranked No. 148 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Chart performance[edit]

Roger Miller version[edit]

Chart (1969) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 12
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 22
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 3

Janis Joplin version[edit]

Selected list of recorded versions[edit]

Other artists


  1. ^ a b Lydia Hutchinson (June 22, 2013). "Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee"".
  2. ^ "Me And Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin Songfacts". 1968-06-06. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  3. ^ Hawke, Ethan (April 16, 2009). "The Last Outlaw Poet". Rolling Stone (1076): 57. Archived from the original on April 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  4. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  5. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  8. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  9. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  11. ^ "Lalla Hansson - Anna & Mej (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  12. ^ "Upp till Ragvaldsträsk! | Svensk mediedatabas". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  13. ^ "John Doe — Me and Bobby McGee". Retrieved 2016-10-02.

External links[edit]