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

The Mystery of “Bobby”

Initially, it was thought that Kristofferson used this love song to pay tribute to Janis Joplin, as she happened to record it a few days before her death. The song instantly became a worldwide sensation. However, at that time, no one realized that “Bobby” was a woman.


Photo of Boudleaux Bryant (Center) Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This came to light as a result of an article published by Songwriter Magazine that revealed the name “McGee” was intended to be “McKee” – and the claims were later confirmed to be true.

So, why was this important?

Barbara (known as “Bobby”) McKee was the 29-year-old secretary to Boudleaux Bryant, a composer and a friend of Foster that worked in the same building. Occasionally, Bryant would taunt Foster that the only reason he came to his office was to see Bobby. In response to the teases, Foster promised to produce a song about her, which is when he contacted Kristofferson, who began looking for inspiration to produce the next big hit.

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