Me And Bobby McGee

Lyrics: Kristofferson/Foster
Music: Kristofferson/Foster

Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train (note 1)
Feeling nearly faded as my jeans
Bobby flagged a diesel down just before it rained (note 2)
Took us all the way to New Orleans
I took my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana (note 3)
I was blowing sad while Bobby sang the blues (note 4)
With them windshield wipers slapping time
And Bobby clapping hands (note 5)
We finally sang near every song that driver knew

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to do (note 6)
Nothing ain't worth nothing but it's free
Feeling good was easy Lord when Bobby sang the blues
Feeling good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and Bobby McGee

From the coal mines of Kentucky to the California sun
Bobby shared the secrets of my soul
Standing right beside me Lord through everything I done (note 7)
Bobby's body kept me from the cold
Then somewhere near Salinas, Lord I let her slip away
Looking for that home I hope she'd find
And I'll trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday
Holding Bobby's body close to mine (note 8)

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose
Nothing was all she left for me
Feeling good was easy Lord when Bobby sang the blues
Feeling good was good enough for me (note 9)
Good enough for me and Bobby McGee

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to do
Nothing ain't worth nothing but it's free
Feeling good was easy Lord when Bobby sang the blues
Feeling good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and Bobby McGee
Notes
(1) Kris Kristofferson's version (and others') has "heading for the trains", which fits the storyline much better (thanks to Chris Holmes for pointing this out).
(2) Kris Kristofferson's version is "Bobby thumbed a diesel down"
(3) I used to think this line was "I took my harp on out of ..." but after listening to Kris Kristofferson's original version and several Bob Weir versions, I think it must be "harpoon" as slang for [mouth] harp or harmonica. Interestingly, on at least one occasion (20 March 1970) Bob Weir sang "I took my mouth harp out of ..." (thanks to 'Richbutnotwealthy' for pointing this out)
(4) Janis Joplin's version (but not Kris Kristofferson') has "I was blowing soft"
(5) Janis Joplin's version (but not Kris Kristofferson') has "I was holding Bobby's hand in mine"
(6) BobWeir appears to be the only one who sings "Nothing left to do" rather than "lose" - though he does sing "nothing left to lose" in the first repeat of the chorus.
(7) Janis Joplin's version (but not Kris Kristofferson') is "Through all kinds of weather, through everything we done"
(8) Kris Kristofferson's version (and others') has "Holding Bobby's body next to mine
(9) Kris Kristofferson's version (and others') has "Buddy that was good enough for me"


Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     18 Mar 1971 30 Trips Around The Sun
     27 Apr 1971 Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses)
     28 Apr 1971 Ladies And Gentlemen ... The Grateful Dead
     31 Jul 1971 Road Trips Number 1, Volume 3
     24 Aug 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 35
     21 Oct 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 3
     22 Oct 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 3
     26 Oct 1971 Download Series Vol 3
     15 Nov 1971 Road Trips Number 3, Volume 2
     17 Nov 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 26
      6 Dec 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 22
     22 Mar 1972 Weir Here: The Best Of Bob Weir
     14 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     17 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     24 Apr 1972 Rockin' The Rhein (note a)
      3 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     10 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     25 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     21 Jul 1972 Download Series Vol 10
      2 Apr 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 21
     26 Jun 1973 Pacific Northwest '73-'74
      9 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     11 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     10 Dec 1973 Download Series Vol 8
     19 May 1974 Pacific Northwest '73-'74
     19 Jul 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 17
      5 Aug 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 31
 
Selected Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1969 Roger Miller Roger Miller
     1970 Kristofferson Kris Kristofferson
     1971 Pearl Janis Joplin

Notes
(a) also on the box set Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings


Further Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com

 


Home | Find words/phrases| Find Song lyrics| Dead originals| Dead covers|