The 30 Best Kris Kristofferson Quotes

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The 86-year-old, Texas-born Kris Kristofferson has lived about 11 lives. If his career was made into a book, it would be more like a series of installments. Part Harry Potter, part Johnny Appleseed.

For starters, he’s been a hitmaker for other artists, the writer of such standards as “Me and Bobby McGee,” which was made famous by Janis Joplin, and “For the Good Times,” made famous by Ray Price and others.

Kristofferson, as a performer, was also a member of the famed country group, The Highwaymen, with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash. Could there have been a more rough and rugged group of infamous songwriters? That group was a major factor in outlaw country music.

But wait, there’s more. Kristofferson is also a celebrated actor, performing in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born, the Blade trilogy, and many more.

Indeed, he’s a legend in his own right. But what did the artist have to say about the world outside of his work? What are his thoughts on life and love, his craft, and more? Let’s dive into the 30 best Kris Kristofferson quotes.

1. “Looking back, I’m surprised I had the nerve to do it, but I’m glad I did. Performing the songs and performing in film was just a part of my personality, just like football and boxing at one point in my life. I was able to lose myself in both of them, and that was a good feeling.”

2. “What really makes me happy now is my home. I know that I have that to lose. But I don’t see losing it. And I don’t care if I never do another movie. And I don’t care if I never get back on the road. I like to think that I’m gonna do that. But if I don’t, I can live with that.”

3. “Every album I’ve made is about what I’m experiencing at the time.”

4. “Havin’ Dylan cover one of your songs is like being a playwright and having Shakespeare act in your play.”

5. “I have a special place in my heart for Nashville because it saved my life back in the day.”

6. “By not having to live up to people’s expectations, I was somehow free.”

7. “Right after I resigned from the Army in 1965, I flew helicopters for oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. I flew personnel from rig to rig, and I’d live on a platform out at sea.”

8. “I’ve never really felt comfortable co-writing. I usually go at my own speed, you know.”

9. “Being in love with a lot of people is incompatible with a stable family life.”

10. “I always had to wait until something hit me, and I could write it. But when I would cut an album, to me it represented the time that I spent since the last one. Just the way I was looking at the world.”

11. “I grew up listening to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, so arriving in Nashville in the ’60s was really exciting for me.”

12. “I’ve had a life of all kinds of experiences—most of them good. And I’ve got eight kids and a wife that puts up with everything I do and keeps me out of trouble.”

13. “I think I’m a much better father as an older man than I was with my first kids. Occasionally, I have to yell at the little guys, but they don’t take me seriously. ‘Listen to the old guy,’ they say. ‘Isn’t he great? He’s mad.'”

14. “I don’t think I’m that good a singer. I can’t think of a song that I’ve written that I don’t like the way somebody else sings it better.”

15. “The one thing I regret is missing the time with my older children when they were young.”

16. “To do the things that I did, I’m amazed that I had the audacity—like resigning from the Army and becoming a janitor and a songwriter.”

17. “Songs are just like your kids. You love them all, and they’re all different. I can’t really pick out favorites.”

18. “I’ve come to appreciate how special a song is compared to other art forms because you can carry it around in your head and your heart, and it remains part of you. It just comes as natural as a bird to me, always did. It’s the way singer-songwriters make sense of our lives.”

19. “I’ve been trying to think of things to tell my kids, something that I could pass down, and it’s like, gee whiz, I maybe never learned anything that didn’t contradict itself.”

20. “The older I get, the less conservative I become.”

21. “If God made anything better than women, I think he kept it for himself.”

22. “The most valuable thing to me seems to be time, and with time, I can be great. I have been… and I will be.”

23. “I feel like I’m kind of lazy, but I keep the yard looking good.”

24. “When I wrote ‘Help Me Make It Through the Night,’ I was on an oil platform out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and was just thinking of myself.”

25. “Tell the truth. Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart. ‘Cause, that’s all that matters in the end.”

26. “I remember I had an actor friend—a close friend from college—Anthony Zerbe. He sent me a telegram before I started my first movie, ‘Cisco Pike.’ It said, ‘Have a good time. Ignore the camera.’ That was the extent of my training.”

27. “Everything that I write is sort of autobiographical, and I don’t know that I’m getting better, but I’m certainly running out of time.”

28. “Human rights is something that wasn’t hard to be inspired to write about because there have been so many violations of those rights.

29. “I’ve never forgotten a single record I cut or a song I wrote.”

30. “I am grateful every morning I wake up. I have a big family full of kids, who laugh all the time and love each other.”

Courtesy New West Records

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