Grammy Award-winning country star Kris Kristofferson has announced his retirement after more than five decades in the entertainment industry.
Though Kristofferson officially retired last year, the public were unaware of the polymath’s decision until it was mentioned in a press release on Wednesday (January 27), issued to announce a change of management of Kristofferson’s estate.
Morris Higham Management – who also manage the estates of Kenny Chesney, Old Dominion and Roger Miller – have assumed control of Kristofferson’s estate, taking over from his longtime manager, Tamara Saviano.
It was also stated that Kristofferson’s son, John, has stepped in to oversee his father’s business dealings, including his record label, KK Records.
“In addition, in the wake of his father’s retirement in 2020,” the statement read, “Kristofferson’s son John steps in to oversee all of the family’s business.”
According to Variety, Saviano said Kristofferson’s decision to retire “wasn’t any big stake in the ground”.
“[Not] like ‘I’m retiring! I’m not doing this anymore!’, it was an evolution, and it just felt very organic.
“Kris is ageing; Kris is 84. It didn’t feel like such big news to us. That’s why there was no announcement: It was just sort of a slow changing of the guard thing.”
The country music poet had remained active, touring solo and with members of Merle Haggard’s band The Strangers, until February of last year.
A songwriter, actor and touring musician, Kristofferson gave his last full concert in January 2020 as part of the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise, where he was also the subject of an onboard tribute show performed by musicians he’s influenced, including Steve Earle, Shooter Jennings and Lucinda Williams.
Watch the performance below:
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Texas-born Oxford scholar’s second album, ‘The Silver Tongued Devil and I’, which boasts his hit songs ‘Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do)’ and ‘The Pilgrim, Chapter 33’.
Kristofferson’s debut album, ‘Kristofferson’, was released in 1970, featuring the classics ‘Help Me Make It Through the Night’ and ‘For the Good Times’.
According to Kristofferson’s camp, a series of “special projects” are in the works to mark the sophomore album’s 50th anniversary, as well as Kristofferson’s 85th birthday this June.
As well as releasing nearly 20 studio albums, Kristofferson’s songwriting credits include Janis Joplin‘s ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ and Johnny Cash‘s ‘Sunday Morning’ Comin’ Down’.
Kristofferson was a member of the supergroup The Highwaymen alongside Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, the band becoming a driving force in the outlaw country music movement.
In 2004, Kristofferson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and is also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
A well-known actor, Kristofferson has appeared in several films including Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, Blade, Heaven’s Gate and the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born alongside Barbara Streisand, for which he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his portrayal of John Norman Howard.
In 2019, Kristofferson and Streisand gave their first-ever live performance of ‘The Love Inside’ from A Star Is Born, some 40 years after the film’s original release.