Kris Kristofferson 1960s

Kris had shown a flair for writing fiction stories when he was still a scholar. The 60s would see him build on, u0026amp; develop this early flair. 

Kris returned home for a study break from Oxford. Instead of returning to continue studying in the UK as planned, he married Fran Beir u0026amp; joined the army. He became a pilot like his father, u0026amp; learned to fly helicopters.

Kris, Fran u0026amp; their daughter moved to West Germany after Kris was assigned there. During his rise through the ranks to Captain, he spent his free time writing songs u0026amp; playing music at service clubs. A friend of his suggested sending his songs to a relative he had in the music publishing scene, u0026amp; Kris did just that. Marijohn Wilken, the music publisher, had founded Bighorn Music, u0026amp; liked what she heard. On being reassigned to West Point, Kris took some leave u0026amp; met with Marijohn in Nashville.

He never did take up his position as an instructor at West Point. He moved his family to Nashville instead to see if he could make a living from his passion – Songwriting. Times were tough, u0026amp; he supplemented his income with piece jobs within the music business u0026amp; flying helicopters to u0026amp; fro from the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The lifestyle took a toll on his marriage u0026amp; the couple divorced after the birth of their son.

Dave Dudley recorded Vietnam Blues, u0026amp; it made the country Top Twenty in April ’66.

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Kris Kristofferson Vietnam Blues

I haven’t found this track on any cd, and I have read resports that say Kris has separated himself from this song. Things must always be considered in the frame of the times. Kris talks about his own feelings about the song here – He also performs it.

Kris Kristofferson – Speaking Freely. Vietnam Blues is about 7 mins in..


Kris signed with Epic as a recording artist but failed to chart with Golden Idol/Killing Time in ’67. Roy Drusky’s version of Jody u0026amp; the Kid made the country top 40 in ’68 u0026amp; Billy Walker u0026amp; the Tennessee Walkers took From the Bottle to the Bottom onto the Country Top Twenty in ’69.

Kris moved to Columbine Music u0026amp; collaborated with Fred Foster, but there were no breakthroughs until Roger Miller recorded Me u0026amp; Bobby McGee. This attracted attention partly because of Miller’s previous hit with King of the Road, u0026amp; Miller went on to record 2 more of Kris’ songs. Best of All Possible World u0026amp; Darby’s Castle both appear on Miller’s ’69 album release titled Roger Miller. McGee was released as a single in advance of the album u0026amp; charted, u0026amp; Kris was earning respect as a songwriter.

Alongside this, Johnny Cash was helping Kris to find his feet as a performer in his own right. Appearances on the Johnny Cash Show u0026amp; at Newport provided the exposure he needed to showcase his talent. The ’60’s ended with Ray Stevens taking Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down onto the pop u0026amp; country charts, u0026amp; Kris co-writing some songs with Silverstein. Faron Young took one of these songs to the Top 5, u0026amp; Jerry lee Lewis just missed the Top 20 with Once More with Feeling –  another Kristofferson/Silverstein song.

A delightful personal account of a meeting that Andrew Joyce had with Kris u0026amp; John in 1968 can be found here. 

The stage was set for the ’70s. Fred Foster had established his indie label, Monument u0026amp; Kris had built up a great catalogue of songs that he had written himself u0026amp; with others. His day was about to dawn.


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