Country music legend Kris Kristofferson announces retirement

Country music Hall of Famer Kris Kristofferson quietly announced his retirement Wednesday in a news released that addressed the future management of the singer’s estate.

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According to a news release, Kristofferson, 84, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and starred in 70 movies during his career, had actually retired last year.

“In addition, in the wake of his father’s retirement in 2020,” the release read, “Kristofferson’s son John steps in to oversee all of the family’s business.”

A spokesperson for Kristofferson confirmed to Rolling Stone that the singer is retiring from touring, recording and acting.

“It wasn’t any big stake in the ground, like ‘I’m retiring! I’m not doing this anymore,’” Tamara Saviano, Kristofferson’s longtime manager, told Variety. “It was an evolution, and it just felt very organic. There was no big change -- it was this sort of slow ‘What should we do now? What’s next?’ And here we are in the middle of a pandemic. … It was like, ‘Yeah, let’s retire.’ To us on this side of the fence it was an organic, normal, ‘things are changing’ thing. Kris is aging; 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.”

Kristofferson’s son will oversee the singer’s label, KK Records, and his estate will be managed by Morris Higham Management, according to The Associated Press. Morris Higham also manages Kenny Chesney, Barbara Mandrell, Louise Mandrell and the Roger Miller estate.

Kristofferson wrote and sang songs such as “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” He also was a member of The Highwaymen. On the silver screen, Kristofferson won a Golden Globe in 1977 for his performance in “A Star is Born.”

Kristofferson was nominated for 13 Grammy Awards and won three times, for “Help Me Make It Through the Night” (1971), “From the Bottle to the Bottom” (1973) and “Lover Please” (1975). He also won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2014.

Kristofferson remained busy touring until February 2020, Rolling Stone reported. He traveled for solo concerts and also appeared with Merle Haggard’s band, the Strangers.

His last full concert was Jan. 30, 2020, aboard the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise, Rolling Stone reported.

“Kris was scheduled in March to do the Luck Reunion in Austin,” an event held annually on Willie Nelson’s property, Saviano told Variety. “The pandemic just changed everything.

“It doesn’t feel like a retirement because Kris’ music isn’t going anywhere. There are still going to be new projects. But he’s not going to be on the road anymore.”

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