1973 Kris Kristofferson – Why Me
Kris Kristofferson was born in Texas but moved around a few times because his father was in the US Air Force. He graduated from high school in California. He attended Pomona College after graduation and focused on writing, winning several awards for his essays. He also was active in sports, playing rugby, football, and track and field sports. He even appeared in an issue of Sports Illustrated in 1958.
Kris won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he got involved with boxing and rugby. He also began writing songs. He recorded a few songs, but nothing sold.
Under pressure from his family, Kris joined the military for a few years after graduating from college. His family disowned him when he left the military at the end of his enlistment in 1965. He moved to Nashville to concentrate on songwriting. During the late sixties, he wrote several hit songs, including Help Me Make It Through The Night, Me And Bobby McGee, and For The Good Times.
Kris signed with Monument Records and began recording again in 1970. He released his first successful recording in 1971, Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again). The single failed to reach the Country chart, but peaked at #26 on the Hot 100 and reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
The next year, he wrote and recorded Why Me with background vocals by Rita Coolidge and Larry Gatlin. The record eventually became his biggest solo single. It topped the Country chart in 1973 and got as high as #16 on the Hot 100.
His career then took a detour and he became an actor, starring in a series of films. While he never again reached the top forty on the charts, he became a member of the country supergroup The Highwaymen and was an important force in the growth of the outlaw movement in country music.
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Here is Kris explaining the history of writing Why Me and playing the song live: