Me and Bobby McGee
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|"Me and Bobby McGee"|
|Single by Roger Miller|
|from the album Roger Miller 1970|
|Recorded||May 16, 1969|
|Roger Miller singles chronology|
"Me and Bobby McGee" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson and originally performed by Roger Miller. Fred Foster shares the writing credit, as Kristofferson intended. 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. Jerry Lee Lewis also released a version reaching number 1 on the country charts in 1971. Billboard ranked Joplin's version as the No. 11 song for 1971.
Other recordings of the song include those by Waylon Jennings, Grateful Dead, Loretta Lynn, Kristofferson himself, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, Gordon Lightfoot, Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert, Olivia Newton-John, Vicki Britton and Johnny Cash.
- 1 History
- 2 Narrative
- 3 Recordings and notable performances
- 4 Chart performance
- 5 Selected list of recorded versions
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The suggestion for the title came from producer and Monument Records founder Fred Foster. Kristofferson explained that in the song he was trying to convey the despair of the last scene of Frederico Fellini’s ‘’La Strada’’.
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
|"Me and Bobby McGee"|
|Single by Janis Joplin|
|from the album Pearl|
|Released||January 12, 1971|
|Recorded||September 5 – October 1, 1970|
|Genre||Blues 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. 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. The song was included on a Statler Brothers album but was not released as a single.
Kristofferson recorded his own version of the song on his debut album Kristofferson in 1970. Later that year, his version of the song appeared in Monte Hellman's psychedelic road movie Two-Lane Blacktop. Kristofferson also appears briefly singing the song in the 1971 Dennis Hopper film The Last Movie.
Joplin recorded the song for inclusion on her Pearl album only a few days before her death in October 1970. 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. 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.
Weekly singles charts
Roger Miller version
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||12|
|U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100||22|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||3|
Gordon Lightfoot version
|Canada RPM Country Tracks||1|
|Canada RPM Top Singles||13|
|South Africa (Springbok)||7|
Janis Joplin version
Jerry Lee Lewis version
Selected list of recorded versions
- 1969 Roger Miller - album Roger Miller
- 1969 The Stonemans - album Dawn of the Stonemans' Age
- 1969 Kenny Rogers & The First Edition - album Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town
- 1970 Charley Pride - album Just Plain Charley
- 1970 Ramblin' Jack Elliott - album Bull Durham Sacks & Railroad Tracks
- 1970 The Statler Brothers - album Bed of Rose's
- 1970 Gordon Lightfoot - album Sit Down Young Stranger
- 1970 Kris Kristofferson - album Kristofferson (Kristofferson's version also appears in the film Two-Lane Blacktop)
- 1970 Bill Haley & His Comets - album Rock Around the Country. (According to the biography Bill Haley by John Swenson, Kristofferson gave Haley's version his seal of approval.)
- 1970 Sam The Sham - single "Me And Bobby McGee/Key To The Highway" (Atlantic #2757)
- 1971 John Mogensen as "Carsten Levin" Danish - single/ featured on album John (1973)
- 1971 Janis Joplin U.S. number-one single: parent album Pearl
- 1971 & 1972 Jerry Lee Lewis - album The Killer Rocks On/ B-side of "Would You Take Another Chance on Me"
- 1971 Dottie West - album Have You Heard...
- 1971 Grateful Dead - album Skull & Roses, and numerous other live recordings
- 1971 Loretta Lynn - album I Wanna Be Free
- 1971 Lalla Hansson as "Anna & mej" Swedish - album Upp till Ragvaldsträsk scoring a Tio i topp hit.
- 1972 Johnny Cash - album På Österåker
- 1972 Charlie McCoy - album Charlie McCoy
- 1972 Jeannie C. Riley - album Give Myself a Party
- 1973 Waylon Jennings - album Lonesome, On'ry and Mean
- 1973 Chet Atkins - album Alone
- 1973 Thelma Houston - album Thelma Houston
- 1973 Olivia Newton-John - album Let Me Be There
- 1974 Lonnie Donegan - album Lonnie Donegan Meets Leinemann
- 1974 Cornelis Vreeswijk as "Jag och Bosse Lidén" Swedish - album Getinghonung
- 1979 Gianna Nannini as "Io e Bobby McGee" Italian - album California
- 1984 Joan Baez - album Live Europe '83 album: Baez also performed the song with the Boston Pops in 1985.
- 1990 The Highwaymen - Live: American Outlaws
- 1994 Blind Melon records the song in the studio during a session in The Netherlands, appears on their B-sides collection.
- 1994 Melissa Etheridge - album Acoustic
- 1997 Loquillo - album Compañeros de viaje
- 1999 LeAnn Rimes - album LeAnn Rimes
- 1999 Barb Jungr - album Bare
- 2002 Anne Murray - album Country Croonin'
- 2002 Jennifer Love Hewitt - album Bare Naked
- 2002 Waterloo & Robinson as "Ich und BobbyMcGee" German - album Marianne
- 2003 Jerry Jeff Walker - album Too Old To Change
- 2004 Pink - album Live in Europe
- 2005 Dolly Parton - album Those Were The Days
- 2005 Arlo Guthrie - album Live In Sydney
- 2006 Dale Ann Bradley - album Catch Tomorrow
- 2007 Angela Kalule on the soundtrack of The Last King of Scotland
- 2007 Caroline af Ugglas - album Joplin på Svenska
- 2008 Amanda Strydom - album kerse teen die donker
- 2010 Crystal Bowersox on American Idol iTunes release of studio version from Top 11 week, and Final 2 week, of season 9
- 2016 Matt Doyle - album Uncontrolled
- Other artists
- Lydia Hutchinson (June 22, 2013). "Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee"".
- Campbell, Courtney. "'Me and Bobby McGee': The Story Behind the Song". Wide Open Country. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- Whitburn, Joel, Joel Whitburn’s Top Country Songs: 1944-2005, Billboard, Record Research Inc., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin 2005 p. 252
- Hawke, Ethan (April 16, 2009). "The Last Outlaw Poet". Rolling Stone (1076): 57. Archived from the original on April 10, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 232.
- Joel Whitburn's Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100 1959-2004
- "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". August 13, 1971. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. January 22, 1972. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- Cash Box Top 100 Singles, January 15, 1972
- "Australian Chart Book". Austchartbook.com.au. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Lalla Hansson - Anna & Mej (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "Upp till Ragvaldsträsk! | Svensk mediedatabas". SMDB.kb.se. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "John Doe — Me and Bobby McGee". Last.fm. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- New Yorker cartoon quoting the song
- A SecondHandSongs list of selected artists who covered "Me and Bobby McGee"
- Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
- FILM:ACOUSTIC - Kris Kristofferson performs "Me and Bobby McGee" and relates La Strada by The Modern School of Film at ArcLight Presents...
- The Epic Story Behind Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” at History by Day