Me & Bobby McGee

Me_and_Bobby_McGee_-_Janis_JoplinJanis Joplin was not among my favourites growing up, but she had a few songs that I really liked and that have stuck with me through the years.  Me & Bobby McGee is at the top of that list.  Written by Kris Kristofferson and songwriter Fred Foster, it was originally sung by Roger Miller.  Often misinterpreted as a love song for Janis Joplin, the real inspiration behind Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ was his producer and co-writer Fred Foster and a young secretary named Barbara McKee. Joplin’s version was released after her death from a heroin overdose in 1970.  The song has been recorded by many since, including Waylon Jennings, Grateful Dead, Kristofferson himself, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, Gordon Lightfoot, and Miranda Lambert.  But in my mind, none do it justice so well as Janis Joplin.

Me and Bobby McGee
Janis Joplin

Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin’ for a train
And I’s feelin’ near as faded as my jeans
Bobby thumbed a diesel down, just before it rained
It rode us all the way to New Orleans

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna
I was playin’ soft while Bobby sang the blues, yeah
Windshield wipers slappin’ time, I was holdin’ Bobby’s hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free, no no
And, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know, feelin’ good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee

From the Kentucky coal mine to the California sun
There Bobby shared the secrets of my soul
Through all kinds of weather, through everything we done
Yeah, Bobby baby kept me from the cold

One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away
He’s lookin’ for that home, and I hope he finds it
But, I’d trade all of my tomorrows, for a single yesterday
To be holdin’ Bobby’s body next to mine

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, that’s all that Bobby left me, yeah
But, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
Hey, feelin’ good was good enough for me, mm-hmm
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee

La da da
La da da da
La da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da
Bobby McGee, yeah

La da da da da da da
La da da da da da da
La da da da da da da
Bobby McGee, yeah

La da La la da da la da da la da da
La da da da da da da da da
Hey, my Bobby
Oh, my Bobby McGee, yeah

La la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
Hey, my Bobby
Oh, my Bobby McGee, yeah

Well, I call him my lover, call him my man
I said, I call him my lover did the best I can, c’mon
Hey now, Bobby now
Hey now, Bobby McGee, yeah

La da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la la
Hey, hey, hey Bobby McGee, yeah
La da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la
Hey, hey, hey, Bobby McGee, yeah

Songwriters: Fred L Foster / Kris Kristofferson
Me and Bobby McGee lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

27 thoughts on “Me & Bobby McGee

  1. Wonderful listening and reading, thanks for sharing!!… ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, my femme fatales Janis, Joan Baez and Stevie Nicks, they were not about liking, they were a message of rebellion against the status quo before Facebook….” those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end” (Mary Hopkin)… 🙂

    “When someone tells you “you’ve changed”, it might be because you have stopped living your life their way”.. John Pence

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At the risk of offending and the possibility of incurring the wrath of “rawgod”…Janis Joplin was not in my top ten of favorite singers. I know, there is no accounting for taste. Full disclosure, well, some things should be left unsaid…if you can’t say something nice thing, right? BUT, I must agree that Joplin’s version is the best of all the rest. She owned this song. I’ve always thought it sad that she never knew the impact that this recording had and still has on so many. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oops, the wrath of rawgod? I hope I wssn’t being wrathful when I gave the version of events in the history of the Animals. Certainly did not mean to come off angry, or upset. But there’s a helluva lot of people out there who could not stand Janis, her habits, or the image she portrayed. Don’t know if Patty would agree or disagree, but Janis always seemed to me like she was covering up a lot of hurt and pain with her brash attitude, but put her on stage, and she gave you everything she had and more. I saw her in Winnipeg on the Freedom Train tour, and she put all the other entertainers to shame, making most of them look like rank amateurs.
      But don’t like her on my account, please Feelings belong to you, not me. Own them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I loved Janis…. The Queen of Soulful Rock and Blues! My sister and a lot of other people in a Texas were embarrassed by her. Sadly, she was shunned at her High School Reunion! People can be cruel!!!! I thought she was awesome, an amazing talent! She was a tormented soul, for sure! They’ll never be another one like her!
        Hometown girl made it! So sad that she is gone! 💙

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very sad that she is gone. But so are most of the really greats. For me, I had four musical heroes that I dibbed Jimi, Jim, Eric and Janis, 3 of them were lost in the early 70s, all tragically. They all played a particular style of psychedelic acid blues that i was really fond of, though Jim Morrison went a bit over the top for me before his death. I had a lot of other heroes from the rock world, George Harrison, John Lennon, Neil Young, Burton Cummjngs, Gordon Lightfoot, Valdy, Don McLean, and bunches of others, but the first four had something no one else had, I’m still not sure what it is. George and John didn’t really come into their own until after The Beatles broke up, then they got what the others always had for me. Oh, those times were the greatest days for music, I don’t think we can ever see days like that again. Cream, The Who, War, The Yardbirds, I could say so many other names, all in the space of Ten Yesrs After, lol. There were too many to do real justuce to. We were the luckiest generation ever… And we still are, in my mind.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I suspected that my comment would elicit a response from you…I was jesting! It goes back to something that you said about people writing “rawgod” with a capital “R” and I was one of them. The part about “taste” was also one of your comments and I was referring to my taste..again, jesting with you! Music speaks to each of us in different ways. That may account for why one prefers classical music and another the blues/jazz, etc. We, each of us, like certain singers and not others. I am not certain of the whys and must wonder does it really matter?


        • Why would it matter to anyone except ourselves? I knew you was having me on, but could not pass up the opportunity to rag on about my favourites. Figured you would do the same, but no matter. I just love talking to people about whatever they might want to talk about. Can you believe, I used to be shy? No idea what happened, but now I love to express myself. Making up for lost time? How about you?


    • Like you, she wasn’t my favourite, but she did some record some that I really like, including this one, obviously! I agree with you that it is sad when an artist’s greatest work is recognized only posthumously. You always wonder … what might have been?


  3. Loved “ME & BOBBY MCGEE!!!!! Great song!!!! I’m originally from Port Arthur, Texas. That was Janis’ hometown, too! She was in my sister’s class and hung out with my two cousins. That’s my “Claim To Fame”!!!!
    Six degrees of separation! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Me and Bobby McGee is probably the song I have used most often in my English language courses in Germany over the past forty-some years. Usually I start with the Kris Kristofferson recording, because it is slower and easier for learners to understand, but lately I have also been playing the Janis Joplin version at the end of the lesson. My instructions for the first listening are always the same:
    Listen to the song and then discuss with your partner(s):
    • Have you heard this song before?
    • If so, when? Where? Who sang it?
    • What’s the song about?
    • What words / phrases / lines did you understand?

    Liked by 1 person

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