"Me and Bobby McGee" is a song written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller. Janis Joplin notably covered the song on the album Pearl. The song was recorded only a few days before her death in October 1970.
Some sources state that Gordon Lightfoot issued the first recorded version; another story tells how Kristofferson popped his head into the studio with freshly written verses as Roger Miller was recording the song. Regardless, Miller was the first artist to have a hit with the song, peaking with it at #12 on the US country charts in 1969. Lightfoot's version hit #13 pop, and #1 country in his native Canada in 1970. In a 2008 autobiography, Don Reid and Harold Reid of the Statler Brothers say Kristofferson promised it to them, but when they later inquired about recording it, they learned Miller had already cut the song. The Reids say there were no hard feelings, and were happy about Miller's success with the song. The song was later included on a Statler Brothers album, but was not released as a single.
By far the best known recording is by Janis Joplin on her 1971 Pearl album. Kristofferson had sung the song for Joplin but did not know she had covered it until after her death. Joplin's version topped the charts to become her only number one single and only the second posthumous number one single in rock & roll history (the first was "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding). In 2004, the Janis Joplin version of this song was ranked #148 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.