Has there ever been anyone more fit to sing “I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana” than Willie Nelson? The country legend honored his friend and former bandmate Kris Kristofferson for an upcoming Hall of Fame Austin City Limits special.
Joined by harmonica player Micky Raphael and Kristofferson himself, Nelson delivered a rollicking spin on Kristofferson’s iconic “Me and Bobby McGee.” Kristofferson appears to be having the time of his life watching Willie as he slaps time along with Trigger through the classic song.
Watch the performance below.
Kris Kristofferson wrote “Me and Bobby McGee” after he was given the title and basic premise by his record label founder, Fred Foster. After weeks of mulling it over, inspiration struck. Kristofferson finished the song driving from the airport in the pouring rain, listening to the windshield wipers slapping in time with the rhythm of the radio.
Kristofferson told Performing Songwriter he was partially inspired by fellow songwriter Mickey Newbury’s “Why You Been Gone So Long” and wanted to capture a similar beat and feel.
“Me and Bobby McGee” was originally recorded by Roger Miller in 1969. Kristofferson released his own version for 1971’s The Silver Tongued Devil and I. Of course, the song later became synonymous with Janis Joplin when it was released posthumously on her 1971 album Pearl.
The Hall of Fame edition of Austin City Limits, which honors the 2016 ACL Hall of Fame inductees. Hosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, the show was taped on Oct. 12 and will air on PBS this New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31). The episode will feature performances by Mavis Staples, Rodney Crowell, Gary Clark Jr. and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.