04 October 2009


Janis Joplin was found dead on this date in 1970. Jimi Hendrix, who just like Janis had found fame as a result of his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 and was also not yet 28 years old, predeceased her by two and a half weeks. Legend has it that when Jim Morrison of the Doors heard the news about Janis' passing, he raised the glass he was drinking from and told his companion,"You're drinking with number three." Morrison would in fact be the third prominent musician to die at the age of 27 in a one year period. A heart attack reportedly killed him in Paris on 3 July 1971; since no autopsy was performed, conspiracy theories about his death abound. (As an aside, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones died at age 27 also, two years nearly to the day before Morrison and there are those who believed that he was murdered, purposely drowned, instead of dying of "misadventure" as his death certificate states).

Back to Janis. You can read more about her life here.

Here she talks to Dick Cavett a few months before her death, announcing her intention to go to her tenth anniversary high school reunion. Cavett asks her if she had many friends in HS and she says under her breath,"No, that's why I'm goin'."

This is "Little Girl Blue" from the I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! album. According to Ellis Amburn, the author of Janis' biography Pearl, the song was "Janis' own personal favorite of all her recordings...The Rodgers and Hart ballad was first introduced in the Broadway circus musical Jumbo in 1935, and in the 1962 movie version, Doris Day sang it." It's one of my favorites, too; I used to sing it to myself when I was growing up.

Since it's football season and I live in the NYC area, I thought I'd mention this little tidbit from Amburn's book. Janis apparently had a huge crush on NY Jets quarterback Joe Namath. She was finally able to track him down and have sex with him on an expensive white area rug. After the encounter, she asked to keep the rug as a keepsake. As the rug cost a lot of money, Namath was hesitant to give it up but in the end, he let her take it. When she left for the evening, she gave the rug to her limo driver; she had just wanted to see if "Broadway Joe" would actually give it to her (the rug, I mean).

Not bad for a woman voted "Ugliest Man on Campus" at UT-Austin in the early '60s, huh?

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