The Epic and True Story Behind Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”

On January 11, 1971, Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” was released as a single. Now, I don’t know if this is common knowledge, but her song is a cover version of the Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster’s original song. That might come as a surprise to at least a few people. But what might be surprising – and also tragic – for people to hear is that Joplin’s version came out four months after she died of an accidental drug overdose.


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“Me and Bobby McGee” went on to become her only number-one single, which was released on her posthumous album “Pearl.” That album sold over 4 million copies, so yeah, I think it’s safe to say that this song is kind of a big deal. And while Kristofferson does indeed get the credit he deserves for penning the original; it’s Joplin who steals the thunder.

But do you know what makes this song so epic? What is the real story? Well, you’re about to find out.