500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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Janis Joplin, 'Me and Bobby McGee'

148. Janis Joplin, 'Me and Bobby McGee'

Writers: Kris Kristofferson, Fred Foster
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Released: Jan. '71, Columbia
15 weeks; No. 1

Joplin's only Number One hit was a posthumous one, and a country, not a blues, song. "Me and Bobby McGee" came from her drinking buddy and occasional crush Kris Kristofferson, who was inspired to write it after seeing Federico Fellini's 1954 film La Strada, Italian for "the road." (It had already been recorded by "King of the Road" singer Roger Miller.) Joplin's version was "just the tip of the iceberg, showing a whole untapped source of Texas, country and blues that she had at her fingertips," recalled pianist Richard Bell. It was a standout from Pearl, her last solo album, released less than a year after she died of a heroin overdose.

Appears on: Pearl (Sony/Legacy)


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