WATCH: Kris Kristofferson Played Final Live Show of Career with Merle Haggard’s Band a Year Ago Today

by Chris Haney

On Wednesday, legendary singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson announced his retirement from the entertainment industry. Therefore, fans who were lucky enough to see him play on Jan. 30, 2020 caught the last full concert of his career.

Kristofferson, 84, has stayed active in the recording studio, on tour, and in films throughout his later days. He’s toured solo and with members of The Strangers – Merle Haggard‘s legendary band. In fact, just over a year ago, The Strangers backed the country singer during his final show. They played to a crowd at the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise, which took place in the Stardust Theater onboard the Norwegian Pearl.

Fan-shot videos of Kristofferson’s last show were posted by Rolling Stone. The iconic musician supposedly played a lengthy, full 20-song set, according to He ironically ended his performance that night with “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends.”

In addition, Rolling Stone reported that the annual cruise concert included multiple other country stars. Each have been influenced by Kristofferson, including Steve Earle, Shooter Jennings (Waylon’s son), Lucinda Williams, and Jim Lauderdale. The group of famous singers honored Kristofferson with a special cruise performance of “Why Me.”

Kris Kristofferson’s final concert brought an end to his storied career. He earned inductions into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1977 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985. Furthermore, he received inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame in 2016. Additionally, the Country Music Association awarded Kristofferson with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.

Kris Kristofferson Unexpectedly and Officially Retires

Kris Kristofferson announced his retirement through a press release on Wednesday. His representatives stated that he chose to quietly step away from the limelight in 2020 without any fanfare.

The press release also announced that his son, John Kristofferson, will now oversee his father’s legacy and music, including his independent music label KK Records. John said there are “many exciting projects” on the way, and that he looks forward to reintroducing his dad’s work to both new and old fans.

“It’s been amazing to dig in to my dad’s catalog and history with this seasoned group of professionals. MHM and Tamara are experts on everything from old Nashville to the up-and-comers, and I can’t imagine a better partnership to bring the full depth of his songwriting to a new generation,” John Kristofferson said in the release. “The name has always been synonymous with songwriting as an art, and we’re excited to reintroduce his work to new and old fans alike. We have many exciting projects in the works, and I look forward to getting them out into the world.”

The press release didn’t share details as to why Kris Kristofferson is retiring. However, the 84-year-old has suffered from memory loss for quite a few years. Also, in 2016, doctors diagnosed the country singer with Lyme disease.