THE JANIS JOPLIN EXPERIENCE
79TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Written By: Jewels Alexandria
(8 Minute Read)
What makes someone a legend? The physical definition of a legend is, “an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field.” Or, “A traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated.” Would you say there is much of a different between these two?
But a legend, on a much deeper scale is more than just being famous or being good at something you do. A legend or legends move people. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. A legend inspires and emits an emotion that is almost indescribable. Janis Joplin was a legend. Not because the critics said so or the albums sells did but because of her ability to send her emotions to her fans through her performances and roaring voice. She was a legend because she proved that as woman, she did not have to make pop music or dress or act a particular way. She was a blues/rock star who wanted nothing more than make her fans feel the same as she did when watching one of her favorite artist. Janis Joplin’s ability goes beyond her powerful vocals. Joplin’s gift was teaching to be open and free with yourself and her message was accepted and received from her fans then and today.
Born in Port Arthur, Texas, January 19, 1943, Joplin had the gift of music early on. Gravitating more towards boys in her adolescent years, which eventually lead to her introduction to Big Brother and The Holding Company. Growing up she spent a lot of time going to concerts and enjoying the sensations the artist gave out on stage. She was highly influenced by black music. She loved artist like Lead Belly and Billie Holiday. One of her favorites being Otis Redding. So much so, she mimicked his style of singing when on stage and his movements to get the crowd involved. Some say the way Janis listened to music was in a way of a true lover of music. And she tried her best to push that emotion out to her fans. It was not until the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, Joplin and Big Brother received great recognition for not only the music, but her moving voice. After many years with the Big Brother Band, she chose to go solo. She described it as, “growing in other directions,” or to “get better.” And better, she did. Her voice was being compared to the likes of Aretha Franklin and so many felt it should reflect it. She flourished. And even performed at the famous Wood Stock Festival of 1969. A performance she dominated. But it was leaving the band that her drug use had gotten worse. Now feeling freer to do as she pleased, she dove into heroin and alcohol even more. She hated the down times and mostly only felt alive when performing. Some would say, “That’s the price you pay for doing that kind of art on that level.”
Janis Joplin was found in her hotel room of a drug overdose on October 4, 1970. She was twenty-seven.
Janis Joplin was best known for her personality. Not just amongst the ones she was closets to but everyone around her. She was mostly described as being “emotionally honest,” and someone who could “feel everyone’s pain.” And with this power she was able to transfer these emotions through her performances. Today, Janis Joplin’s music is remembered as energetic, emotional, and inspiring. Some of her biggest hits are Summer Time, Cry Baby and Mercedes Benz. But to others it goes beyond the hits. Pop sensation, Pink, describes her as, “fearless with her pain and truth.” Her younger sister, Laura Joplin says she, “showed women it’s ok to dream individual dreams.” And that she did. She spoke through her music and body language. And pushed an energy into the world most of us crave for. Janis Joplin was a legend because she loved. And to this day, she is remember as one of the best to ever do it.
January 19, 2022