I’m not really old enough to say “if only things today were more like…[insert whatever you think was perfect about your generation],” but I do pay enough attention to history (and current events) to know that I wish we were seeing more Kris Kristofferson-types in today’s spotlights.
On the February 26, 2009 edition of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert brilliantly asked Kris Kristofferson how he could be both a country musician and a liberal at the same time. Seeming contradictions in the often facile minds of today’s media sponges, mostly obsessed with credential-less celebrities. (by the way, the aforementioned labels can co-exist)
Kristofferson’s backstory is absolutely ridiculous. Trying to tell it all here would be superfluous, so I’ll just hit a couple of highlights of this enormous presence.
Ethan Hawke wrote a killer 14(!)-page story in Rolling Stone 1076 (April 16, 2009). Read a large section of that article on Rolling Stone‘s site here. Below are two excerpts that really stood out to me.
Kris Kristofferson is cut from a thicker, more intricate cloth than most celebrities today: Imagine if Brad Pitt had also written a Number One single for someone like Amy Winehouse, was considered among the finest songwriters of his generation, had been a Rhodes Scholar, a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, a boxer, a professional helicopter pilot – and was as politically outspoken as Sean Penn…He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Pomona College, studied William Blake and Shakespeare at Oxford, became a U.S. Army captain, was assigned to teach literature at West Point and then abruptly dropped out of the Army to become a songwriter.
Kris had sung “Bobby McGee” [which he wrote] for her [Janis Joplin], but he didn’t know she had recorded the song in 1970 until after she died, when the producer from her label played it for him after a party held in her honor. Kris went off by himself and listened to it over and over. He couldn’t believe that she had recorded it, how f**king brilliant the track was and that Janis was gone. Soon the song was a Number One single and the anthem of a generation.