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"Me and Bobby McGee" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson and songwriter Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller. Others performed the song later, including Waylon Jennings, Grateful Dead, Kristofferson himself,[1] Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, Gordon Lightfoot, and Miranda Lambert. Most famously, Janis Joplin posthumously released a version that 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.

"Me and Bobby McGee"
Me and Bobby McGee - Roger Miller.jpg
Single by Roger Miller
from the album Roger Miller 1970
Released July 1969
Format 7"
Recorded May 16, 1969
Genre Country
Length 4:02
Label BNA 69035
Songwriter(s) Kris Kristofferson
Fred Foster
Producer(s) Jerry Kennedy
Roger Miller singles chronology
"Me and Bobby McGee"
"Where Have All the Average People Gone"
"Me and Bobby McGee"
"Where Have All the Average People Gone"



The suggestion for the title came from producer and Monument Records founder Fred Foster.[1] Kristofferson did not write the song for Joplin, but it became strongly associated with her after her death.[2]


The song is the story of two drifters, the narrator and his girlfriend Bobby McGee. The couple hitch 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 performancesEdit

"Me and Bobby McGee"
Single by Janis Joplin
from the album Pearl
B-side "Half Moon"
Released January 11, 1971 (1971-01-11)
Recorded September 5 - October 1, 1970
Genre Blues rock, country rock
Length 4:33
Label Columbia
Songwriter(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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] The song was included on a Statler Brothers album but was not released as a single.

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition recorded the song (with Rogers on lead vocals) and released in on their album Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town in 1969.

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."[citation needed] 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.[3] 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 performanceEdit

Roger Miller versionEdit

Chart (1969) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 12
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 22
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 3

Janis Joplin versionEdit

Selected list of recorded versionsEdit

Other artists
Preceded by
"Everything a Man Could Ever Need" by Glen Campbell
RPM Country Tracks number-one single (Gordon Lightfoot version)
September 19, 1970
Succeeded by
"Countryfied" by Dick Damron
Preceded by
"One Bad Apple" by The Osmonds
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Janis Joplin version)
March 20-March 27, 1971
Succeeded by
"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" by The Temptations


  1. ^ a b "Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" - June 22, 2013 Lydia Hutchinson". 
  2. ^ "Me And Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin Songfacts". 1968-06-06. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  5. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  8. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  9. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2016-05-30. 
  11. ^ "Lalla Hansson - Anna & Mej (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  12. ^ "Upp till Ragvaldsträsk! | Svensk mediedatabas". Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  13. ^ "John Doe — Me and Bobby McGee". Retrieved 2016-10-02. 

External linksEdit