Remembering Janis: Port Arthur's Pearl Would Have Been 67 Today

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

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.


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


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.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.