- Wrote hit songs including "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and "For the Good Times"
- Part of The Highwaymen, with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings
- Member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
- Acted in movies "Blade," "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," "Dolphin Tale," "He's Just Not That In To You," and "A Star is Born"
- Has won Grammy, CMA, ACM, and Golden Globa awards
A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Kris Kristofferson helped rejuvenate Nashville's creative community in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the classics "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Me and Bobby McGee," "For the Good Times," and "Lovin' Her Was Easier." Hundreds of recording artists have performed his songs. As a concert performer, Kristofferson toured for many years, releasing numerous albums with his long-standing backup band, the Borderlords.
Kristofferson began his music career in the mid-60s when he ended scholarly pursuits in favor of songwriting. Encouraged by a meeting with Johnny Cash, he moved to Nashville in 1965. He pitched songs while working as a night janitor at Columbia studios, emptying ashtrays and pushing a broom.
His turning point came in 1969. Cash gave him his break by recording "Sunday Morning Coming Down," which won the Country Music Association's song of the year trophy in 1970. Roger Miller sang "Me and Bobby McGee" and Ray Price recorded "For the Good Times," which won song of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 1970.
He made his recording debut at the same time Janis Joplin's version of "Me and Bobby McGee" went to No. 1. Sammi Smith reached the national Top 10 with "Help Me Make It Through the Night," which won the CMA's single of the year and a Grammy for best country song in 1971. Five subsequent albums, including The Silver-Tongued Devil and I and Jesus Was a Capricorn (which included the hit "Why Me"), went gold. His recordings with then-wife Rita Coolidge won the pair two Grammy awards. In 1973, "From the Bottle to the Bottom" was named best country vocal performance by a duo or group, and "Love Please" garnered the same award in 1975.
In the mid-80s, he joined Cash, Nelson, and Waylon Jennings to form the Highwaymen. The supergroup's single, "Highwayman," was named the ACM's single of the year for 1985. His 1990 solo album, Third World Warrior, demonstrated his concern for human freedoms. In 1999, he re-recorded some of his best-known tunes for The Austin Sessions, released on Atlantic Records.
Kristofferson has released 17 studio albums over the course of his career. The Americana Music Association presented him its 2003 Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award. In 2004, Kristofferson entered the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Inducted to the Music City Walk of Fame on November 7, 2010.