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Kris Kristofferson - Pilgrim Poet Prophet
Kris Kristofferson wears many coats - gifted Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, Golden Globe actor, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, tireless humanitarian. His storied career mixes artistic innovation and integrity with good old-fashioned rambling and rebellion. As one of the seminal figures crystallizing the progressive Outlaw Country scene in the 1970s, Kristofferson penned classic tunes recorded by legends Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson. His resonant baritone voice perfectly matched sensitive lyrics celebrating soulful nonconformists and walking wounded pilgrims. An enigmatic mix of brooding intensity, erudite charm and roguish humor both on screen and off, Kristofferson championed political justice from farm worker and Native American rights to opposing state-sanctioned violence. Now into his 80s, though considerably less hell-raising, his poetic propensity for wrestling with existential and romantic mysteries through song remains uncompromising.
Rhodes Scholar Rebel
Born in Texas border town Brownsville in 1936 to an Air Force Major father, Kristofferson enjoyed a peripatetic military upbringing before accepting a prestigious Rhodes scholarship studying English Literature at Oxford University. However, the staid academic track left him cold. After joining the Army as a helicopter pilot, Kristofferson soon found himself regularly going AWOL for weekends trying to break into Nashville’s music scene. The mounting tensions of avoiding expulsion from the military while itching for more creative freedom catalyzed Kristofferson to bitterly resign his coveted post in 1965 - a shocking life gamble that alienated family expecting further military distinction.
Now with everything staked on making it as a musician, Kristofferson weathered lean early years mopping floors in a recording studio while struggling to get songwriting breaks. But prolific output averaging a song a day matched by staunch refusal to tailor material towards safer radio-friendly country soon earned notice from fellow outliers like Johnny Cash. As Cash’s star producer, Bob Johnston began including Kristofferson originals on Cash’s late-60s albums, widespread exposure followed with peers clamoring for more of his soul-searching story-songs themed around seeking purpose through rootlessness. Vietnam protest anthems “The Soldier” advocating anti-war conscience and “Bobby McGee” celebrating hippie vagabond idealism particularly resonated as countercultural touchstones. Kristofferson’s early supporter Cash later hailed his poetic sensibility fused to rugged grit declaring him “a walking contradiction...fighting for freedom, speaking out against things he thinks are wrong, standing up for things he thinks are right.” Janis Joplin’s chart-topping cover of “Me and Bobby McGee” soon cemented Kristofferson’s reputation as one of music’s most sensitive truth-tellers. Outlaw Icon
The stunning success of “Me and Bobby McGee” bought Kristofferson breathing room to develop his idiosyncratic songcraft even further. Teaming up with maverick producer Fred Foster, his 1970 debut album Kristofferson emerged a phoenix from years of struggling obscurity. The lyrical ballad “Sunday Morning Coming Down” went straight to Number One that year and broadcast to Middle America the hungover pathos, loneliness and longing more often confined to country music shadows rather than pop spotlight. As Kristofferson’s original songs turned to romantic anguish fueling the dazzlingly prolific early 70s, his laconic charisma, Hollywood handsome looks and fearless vulnerability captivated listeners and famous admirers alike. Friend and collaborator Willie Nelson praised Kristofferson’s arresting introspection telling Rolling Stone “Here was this soldier/songwriter with some truly different ideas.” Kristofferson soon counted pals and partners ranging from Dennis Hopper, Billy Swan, Gary Busey and songstress Rita Coolidge who later became his wife.
Kristofferson also attracted major acting opportunities in cult films like Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid alongside longtime influence Bob Dylan. Major lead roles opposite Barbra Streisand and in Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore further revealed magnetic screen presence. Kris and Rita Coolidge’s slice of Malibu bohemia hosted celebrated musicians like Bob Dylan while championing native and farm worker justice amidst 1970s frontline activism. However, crises followed in the wake of early grammy collecting triumphs. Kristofferson’s escalating substance use and womanizing fueled turbulent family life and career inconsistencies for much of the late 70s. Yet signature classics kept coming including 1977’s epic “To Beat the Devil” showcasing the songwriter’s muscular focus and masterful economy of language: “If you waste your time talking to the people who don't listen/To the things that you are saying, who do you think gonna hear/And if you should die explaining how the things that they complain about/ Are things they could be changing, who do you think's gonna care?”
Lion in Winter
As the 1980s unfolded, Kristofferson continued exploring acting with grittier character portrayals in more obscure films while raising his young children in pastoral isolation he dubbed The Shoal Creek Saloon. Musical output winnowed down to a trickle until a new creative lease followed clean living and third marriage in 1983. Several critically acclaimed late-career albums put musical punctuation marks on a distinguished legacy with sparse acoustic backdrop letting timeworn vocals shine. While film opportunities dried up, Kristofferson joined fellow Outlaw geriatrics Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings for supergroup The Highwaymen's chart success and touring from 1985-95 cementing their era-defining status.
Slowing down in his mid-70s, lifetime recognition arrived through induction to the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame. After decades of amplifying marginalized voices since his Vietnam-era glory days, Kristofferson’s latter decades keep his political conscience intact protesting against corporate agriculture and mass incarceration while supporting LGBT equality.
From Army captain to wasted Nashville song-plugger to charismatic ladies’ man, Kris Kristofferson took an unorthodox path to reach heroic cultural influence. His fiercely independent spirit shares poetic dispatches from the frontlines of a rand life where shadow and light dance. Through over 500 songs and 70 acting credits burnishing his legacy as a consummate artist, Kris Kristofferson modeled creative authenticity and bridge-building conscience few achieve with his boldness. Thanks for listening to Quiet Please. Remember to like and share wherever you get your podcasts.
Kris Kristofferson - Pilgrim Poet Prophet Kris Kristofferson wears many coats - gifted Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, Golden Globe actor, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, tireless humanitarian. His storied career mixes artistic innovation and integrity with good old-fashioned rambling and rebellion. As one of the seminal figures crystallizing the progressive Outlaw Country scene in the 1970s, Kristofferson penned classic tunes recorded by legends Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson. His resonant baritone voice perfectly matched sensitive lyrics celebrating soulful nonconformists and walking wounded pilgrims. An enigmatic mix of brooding intensity, erudite charm and roguish humor both on screen and off, Kristofferson championed political justice from farm worker and Native American rights to opposing state-sanctioned violence. Now into his 80s, though considerably less hell-raising, his poetic propensity for wrestling with existential and romantic mysteries through song remains uncompromising. Rhodes Scholar Rebel Born in Texas border town Brownsville in 1936 to an Air Force Major father, Kristofferson enjoyed a peripatetic military upbringing before accepting a prestigious Rhodes scholarship studying English Literature at Oxford University. However, the staid academic track left him cold. After joining the Army as a helicopter pilot, Kristofferson soon found himself regularly going AWOL for weekends trying to break into Nashville’s music scene. The mounting tensions of avoiding expulsion from the military while itching for more creative freedom catalyzed Kristofferson to bitterly resign his coveted post in 1965 - a shocking life gamble that alienated family expecting further military distinction. Now with everything staked on making it as a musician, Kristofferson weathered lean early years mopping floors in a recording studio while struggling to get songwriting breaks. But prolific output averaging a song a day matched by staunch refusal to tailor material towards safer radio-friendly country soon earned notice from fellow outliers like Johnny Cash. As Cash’s star producer, Bob Johnston began including Kristofferson originals on Cash’s late-60s albums, widespread exposure followed with peers clamoring for more of his soul-searching story-songs themed around seeking purpose through rootlessness. Vietnam protest anthems “The Soldier” advocating anti-war conscience and “Bobby McGee” celebrating hippie vagabond idealism particularly resonated as countercultural touchstones. Kristofferson’s early supporter Cash later hailed his poetic sensibility fused to rugged grit declaring him “a walking contradiction...fighting for freedom, speaking out against things he thinks are wrong, standing up for things he thinks are right.” Janis Joplin’s chart-topping cover of “Me and Bobby McGee” soon cemented Kristofferson’s reputation as one of music’s most sensitive truth-tellers. Outlaw Icon The stunning success of “Me and Bobby McGee” bought Kristofferson breathing room to develop his idiosyncratic songcraft even further. Teaming up with maverick producer Fred Foster, his 1970 debut album Kristofferson emerged a phoenix from years of struggling obscurity. The lyrical ballad “Sunday Morning Coming Down” went straight to Number One that year and broadcast to Middle America the hungover pathos, loneliness and longing more often confined to country music shadows rather than pop spotlight. As Kristofferson’s original songs turned to romantic anguish fueling the dazzlingly prolific early 70s, his laconic charisma, Hollywood handsome looks and fearless vulnerability captivated listeners and famous admirers alike. Friend and collaborator Willie Nelson praised Kristofferson’s arresting introspection telling Rolling Stone “Here was this soldier/songwriter with some truly different ideas.” Kristofferson soon counted pals and partners ranging from Dennis Hopper, Billy Swan, Gary Busey and songstress Rita Coolidge who later became his wife. Kristofferson also attracted major acting opportunities in cult films like Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid alongside longtime influence Bob Dylan. Major lead roles opposite Barbra Streisand and in Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore further revealed magnetic screen presence. Kris and Rita Coolidge’s slice of Malibu bohemia hosted celebrated musicians like Bob Dylan while championing native and farm worker justice amidst 1970s frontline activism. However, crises followed in the wake of early grammy collecting triumphs. Kristofferson’s escalating substance use and womanizing fueled turbulent family life and career inconsistencies for much of the late 70s. Yet signature classics kept coming including 1977’s epic “To Beat the Devil” showcasing the songwriter’s muscular focus and masterful economy of language: “If you waste your time talking to the people who don't listen/To the things that you are saying, who do you think gonna hear/And if you should die explaining how the things that they complain about/ Are things they could be changing, who do you think's gonna care?” Lion in Winter As the 1980s unfolded, Kristofferson continued exploring acting with grittier character portrayals in more obscure films while raising his young children in pastoral isolation he dubbed The Shoal Creek Saloon. Musical output winnowed down to a trickle until a new creative lease followed clean living and third marriage in 1983. Several critically acclaimed late-career albums put musical punctuation marks on a distinguished legacy with sparse acoustic backdrop letting timeworn vocals shine. While film opportunities dried up, Kristofferson joined fellow Outlaw geriatrics Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings for supergroup The Highwaymen's chart success and touring from 1985-95 cementing their era-defining status. Slowing down in his mid-70s, lifetime recognition arrived through induction to the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame. After decades of amplifying marginalized voices since his Vietnam-era glory days, Kristofferson’s latter decades keep his political conscience intact protesting against corporate agriculture and mass incarceration while supporting LGBT equality. From Army captain to wasted Nashville song-plugger to charismatic ladies’ man, Kris Kristofferson took an unorthodox path to reach heroic cultural influence. His fiercely independent spirit shares poetic dispatches from the frontlines of a rand life where shadow and light dance. Through over 500 songs and 70 acting credits burnishing his legacy as a consummate artist, Kris Kristofferson modeled creative authenticity and bridge-building conscience few achieve with his boldness. Thanks for listening to Quiet Please. Remember to like and share wherever you get your podcasts. leer más leer menos

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