Me and Bobby McGee

Dupont de Nemours

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
That's just a country song and I would like to know if McGee is a real name or if it's to laugh it off
Thanks in advance.

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  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    McGee is a real name.

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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The song was co-written by Kristofferson and he was given the title before the song was written. The title was supposed to be “Me and Bobbie McKnee, whose real name was “Barbara McKnee“. Kristofferson changed it to “McGee.

    So there was a real person behind the name (but not the song’s story), but there was not a real person named “Bobby McGee”.

    Note: I knew the outline of this story, but not the details. You can find the entire story in this link: The story behind Kristofferson's iconic 'Me and Bobby McGee'

    “Me and Bobby McGee" is one of Kris Kristofferson's most famous and widely covered songs, with everyone from Janis Joplin to Pink putting their own spin on it since 1969.


    Also note that I agree with the article. Joplin’s version is the definitive one. All the others fall short.

    Also note that using “Bobby” instead of “Barbie” means that name is androgynous and it should appropriate for both male and female singers.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I should have been more specific in my post #3.

    I am sure that there are real people out there with the name “Bobby McGee”. But there was no real person behind the story in the song of that name.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Re-reading the original post, I can see that interpretation. That is not how I understood it originally. Perhaps DuPont can elaborate.
     

    Dupont de Nemours

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Re-reading the original post, I can see that interpretation. That is not how I understood it originally. Perhaps DuPont can elaborate.

    The poster is asking if "McGee" is a joke name like McGruff the Crime Dog, not whether the people in the song are real people.
    Thanks Myridon. As you say I just wanted to Know if McGee is a Joke name or not. I now Know it is a real name that you can find anywhere. However, the original name,Barbie McGee,given by Kristofferson was changed for Bobby McGee.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    However, the original name,Barbie McGee,given by Kristofferson was changed for Bobby McGee.
    The name "Barbie" is always a female name. There are no males named "Barbie". The name "Bobby" is usually a male name. Sometimes it is a female name spelled "Bobbie".

    When Janis Joplin sang the song, she sang about being in a couple with a male.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The woman’s correct name was Barbara McKee. Her nickname was “Bobbie”. Kristofferson changed the spelling on the last name. The article does not cited the reason for that change.
     

    Dupont de Nemours

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    The name "Barbie" is always a female name. There are no males named "Barbie". The name "Bobby" is usually a male name. Sometimes it is a female name spelled "Bobbie".

    When Janis Joplin sang the song, she sang about being in a couple with a male.
    Thanks dojibear, I knew Barbie {Barbara) was exclusively a woman name.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Almost no one would think "McKnee". THAT is not a usual name, unlike McGee.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The name "Barbie" is always a female name. There are no males named "Barbie". The name "Bobby" is usually a male name. Sometimes it is a female name spelled "Bobbie".

    When Janis Joplin sang the song, she sang about being in a couple with a male.
    The androgynous nature of the name “Bobbie” meant both male and female singers could cover that song. From a marketing point of view, it was a shrewd choice.
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    SSBE (Standard Southern British English)
    Maybe not relevant here, but the way most AmE speakers say "Bobby" sounds fairly similar to how most BrE speakers pronounce "Barbie", anyway. (American fans of Barney the Purple Dinosaur have often wondered why the British version seemed to be called "Bonny").
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    SSBE (Standard Southern British English)
    Almost no one would think "McKnee". THAT is not a usual name, unlike McGee.
    It was McKee - not McKnee. The 'n' should never have been there in the first place. McKnee was a typo in #3. Packard corrects it to McKee in his #12.

    McKee and McGee are both common surnames. McKnee exists, apparently, but I've never come across that spelling. The only person with that surname I can think of is the actor Patrick Macnee.

    What I don't understand is why the OP thinks that the name might be something we're supposed to laugh at. "Me and Bobby McGee" is a romantic ballad with a sad, wistful, nostalgic tone. There's nothing jokey about it at all.
     
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