(c)1969 Words & Music by Kris Kristofferson & Fred L.Foster
Track Two on Side Two From Janis Joplin´s vinyl "Pearl"
Busted flat in Baton Rouge, headin´ for the trains, feelin´ nearly faded as my jeans
Bobby thumbed a diesel down, just before it rained, took us all the way to New Orleans
I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana, I was blowin´ sad while Bobby sang the blues
With them windshield wipers slappin´ time and Bobby clappin´ hands we fin´lly sang up ev´ry song that driver knew
#Freedom´s just another word for nothin´ left to lose, nothin´ ain´t worth nothin´, but it´s free
2. Nothin´ left is all she left for me feelin´ good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues
Feelin´ good 2. Buddy, that / was good enough for me good enough for me and Bobby McGee [2nd time harp break+
From the coal mines of Kentucky to the California sun, Bobby shared the secrets of my soul
Standin´ right beside me, Lord, through everything I´ve done, every night she kept me from the cold
Then somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away, lookin´ for that home I hope she´d find
And I´d trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday, feelin´ Bobby´s body next to mine#
+Lala la, lala, lala, la - lala la, lala.. Lala la, la, me and Bobby McGee
Lala la, lala, lala, la. Lala la, lala, Lala la, la, me and Bobby McGee
Bluesharp key of Bb
The founder of Kristofferson's record label, Fred Foster, rang him just as the struggling musician was about to leave Nashville for his helicopter pilot sideline job.
He said that he had a song title for the songwriter - "Me And Bobby McKee."
Kristofferson recalled in Mojo magazine March 2008 that his label boss suggested: "'You could make this thing about them traveling around, the hook is that he turns out to be a she.'"
Kristofferson was not sure at first. "I hid from Fred for a while but I was trying to write that song all the time I was flying around Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
I had the rhythm of a Mickey Newbury song going in the back of my mind, 'Why You Been Gone So Long,' and I developed this story of these guys who went around the country kind of like Anthony Quinn and Giuletta Masina in (Fellini's) La Strada. At one point, like he did, he drove off and left her there.
That was 'Somewhere near Salinas, I let her slip away.' Later in the film he (Quinn) hears a woman hanging out her clothes, singing the melody she (Masina) used to play on the trombone, and she told him, 'Oh, she died.' So he goes out, gets drunk, gets into a fight in a bar and ends up on the beach, howling at the stars.
And that was where 'Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose' came from, because he was free from her, and I guess he would have traded all his tomorrows for another day with her."
The song's final defining image came to Kristofferson as he was driving in heavy rain to the airport for the flight home. "I went, 'With them windshield wipers slapping time and Bobby clapping hands we finally sang up every song the driver knew.' And that was it."
In 2004, the Janis Joplin version of this song was ranked No. 148 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.