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If you are over 40, or if you enjoy classic country and rock music, you are probably familiar with Kris Kristofferson, a singer-songwriter whose hits include Me and Bobby McGehee, Help Me Make it Through the Night, Sunday Morning Coming Down, and many others. Many were big hits for other singers ranging from Martina McBride to Janis Joplin to Johnny Cash.
Kristofferson looks and acts like he just jumped off the back of a turnip truck. Scruffy, rough around the edges, usually wearing a beat-up T-shirt and jeans. He talks with a good-ol’-boy drawl.
Here’s what surprises me: Kristofferson is the son of an Air Force general. He was a Rhodes Scholar, just like Bill Clinton. That means he’s really, really smart. He studied English Literature. He joined the Army and was promoted to captain. He received a post at West Point as an English professor. He resigned that to work odd jobs in the South while forging his music and acting career. He lived in Nashville after leaving the Army in 1965, working on becoming a songwriter.
He swept floors at Columbia Studios in Nashville. That’s where he first met Johnny Cash, but the relationship didn’t go anywhere at first (it later blossomed). He was also working as an industrial helicopter pilot at the time for a company called Petroleum Helicopters International (PHI), based in Louisiana. He had trained as a helicopter pilot in the Army.
From there his music and acting career took off, and the rest, as they say, is history. But the man who today is in his 70s and looks like a scruffy, hardscrabble singr-songwriter, started life as a Rhodes Scholar and Army captain.
It’s like they say — people will surprise you!
write by Lancelot