Remembering Janis: Port Arthur's Pearl Would Have Been 67 Today
Today would have been Port Arthur native Janis Joplin's 67th birthday. Rocks Off started his day at the desk with her greatest-hits collection and all her work with Big Brother & the Holding Company that gets overlooked in lieu of her bigger singles. Pearl is still seen by many as the magnum opus of her short career. It was released in February 1971, just four months after her death and plays like her own funeral dirge, a sort of last concert for the world. Featuring her new backing band The Full Tilt Boogie and the Kris Kristofferson-penned "Me and Bobby McGee," the album runs just over 30 minutes as a fitting coda to Joplin's turbulent life. The a cappella "Mercedes Benz" is alone worth the price of admission. Make sure to pick up the Legacy edition of the album, reissued a few years ago with extra vocal takes and alternate versions of some of the classics.
Joplin died on October 4, 1970, after a heroin overdose exasperated by a lifetime of alcohol abuse. After Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix, she was one of the inaugural trio of members of the "Forever 27 Club," made up of rock stars that died at that tender age - and a month apart. Can you imagine losing two biggies in a row like that in this day and age? Rocks Off always imagines what Joplin would have been like as a kooky old lady, a sort of SoCo-swilling lesbian grandma lording over people like Courtney Love and Patti Smith. We always think that she would have made an excellent actress too. Even watching her in period interviews, you can see about that she had about 100 characters bubbling under her skin. Almost 40 years after her death, Hollywood is still attempting to make a biopic about Joplin. It's been in the works about two decades now, with directors and stars being bandied about like a parlor game. The smart money right now is on the Gospel According to Janis project with Zooey Deschanel in the starring role. Expect that sometime in the next two years. Maybe.
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