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 Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller. Others performed the song later, including the Grateful Dead, Kristofferson himself, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition and most famously by Janis Joplin, whose posthumously released version 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.
The suggestion for the title came from producer and Monument Records founder Fred Foster. Kristofferson did not write the song for Joplin, but it became strongly associated with her after her death.
The song is the story of two drifters, the narrator and his girlfriend Bobby McGee. The couple hitches 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 his sadness after her departure.
Recordings and notable performances
|"Me and Bobby McGee"|
|Single by Janis Joplin|
|from the album Pearl|
|Released||January 11, 1971|
|Recorded||September 5 - October 1, 1970|
|Genre||Blues rock, country rock|
|Writer(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, and was not released as a single.
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." 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.
Chart performance (Roger Miller version)
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||12|
|U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100||22|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||3|
(Janis Joplin version)
Weekly singles charts
Selected list of recorded versions
- 1969 Roger Miller - album Roger Miller
- 1969 Kenny Rogers & The First Edition - album Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town
- 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 The 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.
- 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 Allison Crowe - album Live at Wood Hall
- 2005 Dolly Parton - album Those Were The Days
- 2005 Arlo Guthrie - album Live In Sydney
- 2005 Tori Amos live in Hartford 10 April 2005
- 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
- 2013 Grace Askew recorded a studio version on the fourth season of The Voice USA after defeating Trevor Davis in the Battle Round performing the same song.
- 2016 Matt Doyle - album Uncontrolled
- Other artists
"Everything a Man Could Ever Need" by Glen Campbell
|RPM Country Tracks number-one single (Gordon Lightfoot version)
September 19, 1970
"Countryfied" by Dick Damron
"One Bad Apple" by The Osmonds
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Janis Joplin version)
March 20-March 27, 1971
"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" by The Temptations
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- 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.
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- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
- "Australian Chart Book". Austchartbook.com.au. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
- "Lalla Hansson - Anna & Mej (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "Upp till Ragvaldsträsk! | Svensk mediedatabas". SMDB.kb.se. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "John Doe — Me and Bobby McGee". Last.fm. Retrieved 2016-10-02.