Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin' for a train
And I's feelin' near as faded as my jeans
Bobby thumbed a diesel down, just before it rained
It rode us all the way to New Orleans

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna
I was playin' soft while Bobby sang the blues, yeah
Windshield wipers slappin' time, I was holdin' Bobby's hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
Nothin', don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't free, no no
And, feelin' good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know, feelin' good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee

From the Kentucky coal mine to the California sun
There Bobby shared the secrets of my soul
Through all kinds of weather, through everything we done
Yeah, Bobby baby kept me from the cold

One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away
He's lookin' for that home, and I hope he finds it
But, I'd trade all of my tomorrows, for a single yesterday
To be holdin' Bobby's body next to mine

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
Nothin', that's all that Bobby left me, yeah
But, feelin' good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
Hey, feelin' good was good enough for me, mm-hmm
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee

La da da
La da da da
La da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da
Bobby McGee, yeah

La da da da da da da
La da da da da da da
La da da da da da da
Bobby McGee, yeah

La da La la da da la da da la da da
La da da da da da da da da
Hey, my Bobby
Oh, my Bobby McGee, yeah

La la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
Hey, my Bobby
Oh, my Bobby McGee, yeah

Well, I call him my lover, call him my man
I said, I call him my lover did the best I can, c'mon
Hey now, Bobby now
Hey now, Bobby McGee, yeah

La da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la la
Hey, hey, hey Bobby McGee, yeah
La da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la
Hey, hey, hey, Bobby McGee, yeah

Lyrics submitted by capitol76, edited by calcaylor, DanVitaleRocks

Me and Bobby McGee song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +5
    General Comment

    Kris Kristofferson wrote the song about a girl called Bobby Mcgee.

    "And every night she kept me from the cold. The somewhere near salinas, lord, I let her slip away, She was lookin’ for the love I hope she’ll find "

    Roger Miller first recorded it in 1969 - it hit #12 on the Country Charts.

    Janis recorded it on her album "Pearl" in 1971 and the 'she' became a 'he'.

    blackballoon11on October 16, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    "I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana, I was playing soft while Bobby sang the blues". the harpoon refers to a harmonica or harp, as most blues singers call it, not shooting up. Kris Kristofferson wrote a lot of songs for a lot of different people, notably Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose" is one of the best lines ever written. After Janis and Aretha, no female singer even comes close

    wetcoasteron March 28, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Okay, I take this to what seems like the obvious conclusion to me but no one else has said it yet.

    Doesn't it sound like they were two young lovers just roamin' around together, makin music and makin love?

    Then the girl/guy (depending on who's singing it) wanted more, "He's looking for that home and I hope he finds it" but the singer of the song couldn't commit like their lover wanted them to.

    "I let him slip away" would then mean that the singer had the chance to be with him/her but decided against it and the song's basically regretting that decision and wishing they could go back, "I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday To be holding Bobby’s body next to mine."

    ---twigs---on October 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Well, it does say "looking for my man," so I'm assuming Bobby was a guy...

    FREAKISHfireflyon April 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    ok well i dont think its a metaphor and im pretty sure he loved her too. to me it seems like she was kinda a drifter free spirit or w/e and he wanted to settle down but she couldnt or didnt want to but it made her sad bc she loved him so much and she wished things didnt have to be like that

    thiss2shallpasson January 27, 2006   Link
  • +1

    This song goes way back to my dating days. Always loved it. Now since my beautiful wife, PattySue, waits for me in heaven the words, " I'd trade all my tomorrows for one single yesterday," hits home. Love you baby. Can't wait to be with you and Jesus.

    JesusFreak1on June 02, 2023   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Love this song and nowi know that i was singing all the wrong words in the chorus

    Starrwriteron May 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    steph your funny

    shady_girl2424on May 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is one of the few Janis Joplin songs I like, but this one rocks. I just don't know what she means by she let Bobby "slip away". But I like the idea of them having fun together back in the sixties or so. What a great time that must have been.

    tradrrron June 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    love this song

    "freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose"

    so so so true.....does anyone know who bobby mcgee was or what the metaphor is?

    Bulkyoneon July 28, 2002   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Mountain Song
Jane's Addiction
Jane's Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell gives Adam Reader some heartfelt insight into Jane’s Addiction's hard rock manifesto "Mountain Song", which was the second single from their revolutionary album Nothing's Shocking. Mountain song was first recorded in 1986 and appeared on the soundtrack to the film Dudes starring Jon Cryer. The version on Nothing's Shocking was re-recorded in 1988. "'Mountain Song' was actually about... I hate to say it but... drugs. Climbing this mountain and getting as high as you can, and then coming down that mountain," reveals Farrell. "What it feels to descend from the mountain top... not easy at all. The ascension is tough but exhilarating. Getting down is... it's a real bummer. Drugs is not for everybody obviously. For me, I wanted to experience the heights, and the lows come along with it." "There's a part - 'Cash in now honey, cash in Miss Smith.' Miss Smith is my Mother; our last name was Smith. Cashing in when she cashed in her life. So... she decided that, to her... at that time, she was desperate. Life wasn't worth it for her, that was her opinion. Some people think, never take your life, and some people find that their life isn't worth living. She was in love with my Dad, and my Dad was not faithful to her, and it broke her heart. She was very desperate and she did something that I know she regrets."
Album art
American Town
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran shares a short story of reconnecting with an old flame on “American Town.” The track is about a holiday Ed Sheeran spends with his countrywoman who resides in America. The two are back together after a long period apart, and get around to enjoying a bunch of fun activities while rekindling the flames of their romance.
Album art
Ed Sheeran
“Midnight” is a song about finding a love that is so true that it provides a calming feeling through every storm. Ed Sheeran reflects on his good fortunes in landing someone with such peace and support and speaks of not fearing the dark days because he knows they’ll all end in the safety nets of her arms. “Well, good morning there / What a way to start the day / With everything laid bare,” Ed Sheeran sings in the first verse, enthusiastic to be waking up beside his woman. He apologizes for missing her calls in the second verse and promises to return them because for him, speaking to her is the most important thing. “Well, I get lost inside my head / In this chaos, you’re my calm / And I will find my feet again / ‘Cause еven the worst days of my life will always еnd / At midnight in your arms,” sings Ed Sheeran in the chorus, revelling in his good luck.
Album art
Somewhere Only We Know
Per the FAQ on Keane's website, Keane's drummer Richard Hughes, stated the following: "We've been asked whether "Somewhere Only We Know" is about a specific place, and Tim has been saying that, for him, or us as individuals, it might be about a geographical space, or a feeling; it can mean something individual to each person, and they can interpret it to a memory of theirs... It's perhaps more of a theme rather than a specific message... Feelings that may be universal, without necessarily being totally specific to us, or a place, or a time..." With the nostalgic sentiment and the overall tone of the song, I think Keane is attempting to express a Portuguese term known as 'saudade', which does not have a direct English translation but roughly means "that which we remember because it is gone."
Album art
Sunglasses at Night
Corey Hart
In the 1980s, sunglasses were a common fashion for people who wanted to adopt a "tough guy" persona (note all the cop shows from that era -- Simon & Simon, Miami Vice, etc. -- where the lead characters wore shades). So I think this song is about a guy who wears shades as a way of hiding his insecurity after learning that his girlfriend is cheating on him. He's trying to pretend that he's a "tough guy" to hide the fact that his girlfriend's affair is disturbing him.