This past Saturday, March 20, marked the 50th anniversary of Janis Joplin‘s classic cover of “Me and Bobby McGee” hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Coinciding with the milestone, the first official music video for the tune has premiered on the late singer’s YouTube channel.
The mixed-media clip features an animated collage of photos and other images, including archival pics of Joplin, that tell the story of the song, celebrate Janis’ legacy and present a flavor of the time when the tune was released.
Written by Kris Kristofferson, with help from lauded record producer Fred Foster, “Me and Bobby McGee” tells the tale of a bittersweet romance between two freewheeling drifters. Recorded just a few days before her October 1970 death from a drug overdose, Joplin’s take on the song went on to become only the second posthumous single ever to top the Hot 100, following Otis Redding‘s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” in 1968.
“Me and Bobby McGee” appears on Janis’ final studio album, Pearl, which was released on January 11, 1971, eight days before what would’ve been her 28th birthday. The video is part of a series of planned releases celebrating the album’s 50th anniversary.
Among the other special releases in the works is a new limited-edition book, titled Janis Joplin: Days & Summers — Scrapbook 1966-68, that’s being prepared by Genesis Publications in partnership with Joplin’s estate and is scheduled to be published on June 10.
The book, which you can pre-order now, features images of posters, souvenirs, press clippings, photographs and other items Janis collected, and that have been annotated with her comments. Some of the photos from the book appear in the “Me and Bobby McGee” video.
By Matt Friedlander
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