Kris Kristofferson was among the performers for the inaugural Farm Aid. In 1985, the acclaimed singer-songwriter and actor helped organizers Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp launch the concert benefitting family farmers, which is a beloved institution to this day.
Another Farm Aid performance by Kris, however, seems unlikely as news of the prolific artist’s well-deserved retirement at age 84 arrived this past week. In honor of Kristofferson’s legendary career, JamBase takes a look at his 1985 Farm Aid performance, which took place on September 22 in Champaign, Illinois before a crowd of 80,000 people.
Kristofferson’s Farm Aid set included his classic, “Me And Bobby McGee,” famously covered by Janis Joplin. But the bulk of Kris’ set featured newer material from his yet-to-be-released 1986 album, Repossessed. The singer-songwriter delivered the album’s “El Coyote” and “They Killed Him.” The latter is an homage to pivotal figures of the 20th century including Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and more. Bob Dylan — who set the wheels for Farm Aid in motion and also performed in 1985 — would later include the song on his 1986 album, Knocked Out Loaded. The set also saw Kris shoulder an acoustic 12-string guitar and dedicate his song “Shipwrecked In The 80s” to farmers and veterans.
Watch Kris Kristofferson perform at the first Farm Aid via the JamBase Live Video Archive below:
Me And Bobby McGee
They Killed Him
Shipwrecked In The 80s
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