Janis Joplin - "Me and Bobby McGee" (Original Version + Demo Acoustic Version)





This was written by Kris Kristofferson, who has written hundreds of songs for a wide variety of artists. Kristofferson would become a successful solo artist and appear in several movies, but it was Janis Joplin's hit cover of this song that brought his career to the next level. "'Bobby McGee' was the song that made the difference for me," he told Performing Songwriter in 2015. "Every time I sing it, I still think of Janis."


Kris Kristofferson released this in 1970 on his first album, Kristofferson. A year later, when it became a hit for Joplin, Kristofferson's album was re-released as Me And Bobby McGee to take advantage of the song's new popularity.


This was released after Joplin died of a heroin overdose. Her death gave the album a lot of attention, and Pearl went to #1. It was the second song to hit #1 in the US after the artist had died; "Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding was the first.







The version on Joplin's 1995 Greatest Hits album 18 Essential Songs contains an alternate version recorded as a demo:



Janis Joplin - Me and Bobby McGee just Janis playing an Acoustic (From the Pearl Session Tapes. Recorded 7-28-70)



Lyrics



Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train

I was feeling near as faded as my jeans

Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained

And rode us all the way to New Orleans


I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana

I was playing soft while Bobby sang the blues

Windshield wipers slapping time, I was holding Bobby's hand in mine

We sang every song that driver knew


Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose

Nothing don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free, now now

And feeling good was easy Lord, when he sang the blues

You know feeling good was good enough for me

Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee


From the Kentucky coal mines to the California sun

Hey, Bobby shared the secrets of my soul

Through all kinds of weather, through everything that we done

Hey Bobby baby kept me from the cold


One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away

He's looking for that home and I hope he finds it

But I'd trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday

To be holding Bobby's body next to mine


Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose

Nothing, and that's all that Bobby left me, yeah

And feeling good was easy Lord, when he sang the blues

Hey, feeling good was good enough for me, hmm hmm

Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee


La la la, la la la la, la la la, la la la la

La la la la la Bobby McGee

La la la la la, la la la la la

La la la la la, Bobby McGee, la


La La la, la la la la la la

La La la la la la la la la, hey now Bobby now Bobby McGee yeah

Na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na na na na

Hey now Bobby now, Bobby McGee, yeah


Lord, I called him my lover, I called him my man

I said called him my lover just the best I can and come on

And and a Bobby oh, and a Bobby McGee yeah

Lo lo lo lo lo lo lo lo lo lo lo lo

Hey hey hey Bobby McGee, lord

La da la la la, la da la la la la la

Hey hey hey, Bobby McGee yeah


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