Kris Kristofferson penned the classic “Me And Bobby McGee” that became a classic performed by Janis Joplin
The influential songwriter, singer and actor Kris Kristofferson turns 85 today
Kristoffer Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas on June 22, 1936. Throughout his career he penned classic hits including “Help Me Make It Through the Night”, “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, “For The Good Times” and perhaps his most well known song “Me and Bobby McGee”. But music could had lost a real talent had Kristofferson choose a different path like he did earlier in his life. After earning a master’s degree in English literature from Oxford in 1960, Kristofferson joined the Army. Like his father, he became a pilot, learning to fly helicopters. He was assigned to West Germany and went there with his first wife and their daughter. During the early ’60’s, while rising to the rank of captain, he eventually couldn’t let go of the music bug, and returned to writing and performing even organizing a soldiers’ band. In 1965, after being reassigned to the West Point military academy, where he was to become an English instructor, Kris opted to leave his military career and decided to try to become a country songwriter instead, after several people praised his songwriting and musician skills. He scored his first hit as a songwriter with “Viet Nam Blues” recorded by Dave Dudley, the song peaked in the country Top 20 in April 1966. In 1969, he released his signature song “Me and Bobby McGee”. By then, thanks to Johnny Cash, who introduced him at the Newport Folk Festival that summer and featured him on his TV show, he begun to gain global recognition. Up until then, most of his recognition had been in country music, but Rock and Folk musicians soon turned to Kristofferson for inspiration too. In January 1971, 3 months after Janis Joplin’s death, her posthumous album “Pearl” was released, and featured a cover of “Me And Bobby McGee” by Joplin. Her version was released as a single and peaked to No.1 that same year, making Kristofferson famous worldwide. During the rest of the 1970’s, he scored more hits and kept on his successful career as songwriter. At the same time, he also explored his acting skills and starred on several movies including “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, “Heaven’s Gate”, and “A Star Is Born” with Barbra Streisand that earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.Today, Kris remains an influential force in music, specially among singer-songwriters. His latest album, “The Cedar Creek Sessions”, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album in 2016. Kris Kristofferson has been married to Lisa Kristofferson for 36 years after two marriages, one of which with singer Rita Coolidge during the 1970’s. Today he turns 85.
Watch Kris Kristofferson performing “Me And Bobby McGee” in 1970
Watch Kris Kristofferson performing his hit “Help Me Make It Through the Night” in 1972 with his then wife Rita Coolidge
Watch more 1970’s related videos
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