It is time for another the Original vs. the Cover and this time it is another trio of versions. This time we are discussing the song “Me and Bobby McGee” which was written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, but let’s be honest, Fred only gave the song the title. The versions we are covering are the original release by Roger Miller (1969), Kris Kristofferson’s own version (1970) and then the version by Janis Joplin (1971). There were actually two other versions released in 1970 by Gordon Lightfoot and the Statler Brothers and then in 1971, Jerry Lee Lewis released a version. That is 6 versions in 3 years. Insane. I’m going to stick with my three.
The song was started by Fred Foster, the head of the label Kris was signed, when he went to Kris with a song title called “Me and Bobbie McKee” which Kris thought it he heard McGee. Kris didn’t think he could write the song, so he avoided Foster for months until he finally got it written.
The song is about a couple that is traveling across the southern part of the country. They are hitchhiking, singing the blues and discovering the land and each other. They end up breaking up and going their own ways and the singer is filled with sadness and regret about them parting as I believe he loved that Bobby McGee. I could go in to more depth about the song and the lyrics, but then this would turn in to a My Sunday Song episode where we deep dive in to the songs. This is about which version is the best so we will get to that part of the show.
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