Song of the Day #267: ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ – Kris Kristofferson

kristoffersonKris Kristofferson started off in the Carole King mode, writing great songs that were hits for everybody but him. So I thought I’d give him the spotlight today as a singer, too.

‘Me and Bobby McGee’ was a big hit for Janis Joplin, maybe the biggest hit of any Kristofferson song. But he does it a lot of justice as a performer. Here’s a link to Joplin’s version, recorded shortly before she died. She and Kristofferson were an item once upon a time.

This song contains some absolutely stunning lyrics, starting with that classic line from the chorus: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” But the whole thing is strong. I love that opening image (“Busted flat in Baton Rouge, headin’ for the train, feelin’ nearly faded as my jeans”) and this poignant line toward the end: “I’d trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday.”

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Song of the Day #266: ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ – Johnny Cash

cashkrisI recently read a fascinating profile of Kris Kristofferson (by Ethan Hawke, of all people) in Rolling Stone magazine. Hawke painted Kristofferson as a modern-day renaissance man and an unabashed sentimentalist and political liberal who is nonetheless about as “manly” a man as can be.

In the opening of the article, Hawke relays a story of the backstage scene of a tribute concert, where Toby Keith allegedly walked up to Kristofferson and said “None of that lefty shit tonight, Kris.” Kristofferson exploded, shouting “You ever worn your country’s uniform? … Have you ever killed another man and then cashed the check your country gave you for doing it? No, you have not. So shut the fuck up!”

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