Iconic troubador, actor, poet
The "Me" in "Me and Bobby McGee"
* Kris Kristofferson was also the 2006 recipient of The Johnny Mercer Award, the SHOF’s highest honor
Over the course of a 5 decade career, Kris Kristofferson’s songs have been recorded by artists from Waylon Jennings (“The Taker”) to Janis Joplin (“Me and Bobby McGhee”).
Kristofferson was born on June 22, 1936 in Brownsville, Texas. The oldest of three children, Kristofferson showed an early talent for writing and secured a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University in England. At Oxford, Kristofferson first started writing and performing his own songs. He recorded an album for Top Rank Records under the alias Kris Carson to little success and left England in 1960 after graduating with a masters degree from Oxford. During the early 1960’s, he served in the US army quickly rising in the ranks and eventually securing a position at West Point military academy.
It wasn’t until 1966 that Kristofferson had his first success as a songwriter with “Viet Nam Blue.” Recorded by Dave Dudley, the song peaked in the Country Top 20. The next 4 years saw more success for Kristofferson: Roy Drusky hit the country Top 40 with “Jody and the Kid;” Billy Walker and the Tennessee Walkers recording of “From the Bottle to the Bottom” reached the top 20 in 1969; Roger Miller released his recording of “Me and Bobby McGee,” which reached the country top 20; Ray Stevens released “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” entering both the pop and country charts; Faron Young released “Your Time’s Comin’” which peaked in the Country top five.
During the 1970’s, ’80’s and 90’s, continued penning hit songs including “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “I Won’t Mention It Again” and “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends.” He also embarked on a successful performing artist and acting career, appearing in more than 15 films and touring with the Highwaymen Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.