Shine A Light: Kris Kristofferson

Back to the poets for this post. We’re talking songwriter of the first magnitude here. A guy that turned Nashville songwriting on its ear. A guy that wrote about real life and said things in ways nobody else had. That’s Kris Kristofferson.

So Brownsville Texas native, Kris Kristofferson has a little more to him than you may know. He earned a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford studying literature. Joining the army Kristofferson rose to the rank of Captain and was a helicopter pilot. He also cmpleted Ranger school. He was offered at position at West Point as a literature professor. Well, being the bright guy that he was, he turned that down and moved to Nashville and took a job at Columbia Records sweeping the floors! Can you imagine breaking that news to Mom and Dad !

He was honing his songwriting skills, drinking (to get the good songs of course), and generally doing whatever he had to do to get his songs heard. He even borrowed a helicopter and landed it in Johnny Cash’s front yard saying he wasn’t leaving until Cash heard his song “Sunday Morning Coming Down“! Is that crazy enough for you??

But the songs were coming and within a couple of years he had classics written in a very short span. Songs like “For The Good Times”, “Sunday Morning Coming Down”,”Help Me Make It Through The Night” and of course, “Me And Bobbie McGee“. “For The Good Times” won song of the year by the ACM and CMA in the same year. A feat never done before and to my knowledge not since.Those tunes became all time genre hopping classics.

There were plenty of other number #1’s in that same era that may only be more recognizable to country fans like Waylon Jennings’ version of “The Taker“, Roger Millers version of “Best Of All Possible Worlds”, recently cut by Norah Jones.

Kristofferson went on as most of us know to act in several top box office movies, such as a role originally offered to Elvis Presley for A Star Is Born.

So writer, movie star, performer and hard core activist for any injustice he sees, Kris Kristofferson has lived a really full life and has made a way when no way seemed apparent. We don’t have to agree with all of his politics or think he has a great voice, but oh what a career.

If you think you are a songwriter, go check out Kristofferson’s writings. Check out the lyrics to “The Silver Tongue Devil and Me”. It’s where the men get separated from the boys !

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