Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “The Women Of Rock Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Janis Joplin

  • Joplin was found dead in room 105 of the Landmark Hotel in Los Angeles after a heroin overdose. The hotel was later renamed The Highland Gardens.
  • She left $1500 in her will for a funeral party. It was held at The Lion’s Share in San Anselmo, California, on October 26, 1971. The Grateful Dead performed.
  • She was on the cover of Newsweek May 26, 1969 with the headline, “Rebirth of the Blues.” She was slated for the cover in April, but got bumped when former president Dwight Eisenhower died.
  • Her idol was the blues singer Bessie Smith. When Joplin found out Smith was buried in an unmarked grave, she bought a headstone that read, “The greatest Blues singer in the world will never stop singing.”
  • The 1979 movie The Rose, starring Bette Midler, was based on Joplin’s life.
  • In 1963, she was voted “The Ugliest Man on Campus” at the University of Texas, Austin. This prompted her to leave her home state of Texas and go to San Francisco.
  • She was going to be married in 1966, but backed out to join Big Brother and the Holding Company. Other dating exploits include going to a barbecue with the future United States Secretary of Education William J. Bennett and hitting Doors frontman Jim Morrison over the head with a broken bottle when he tried to pick her up.
  • Joplin appeared in many movies, mostly because of her music. These include Janis, Woodstock, Festival Expressand Petulia (starring George C. Scott and the Grateful Dead).
  • Love, Janis is a biography of her written by her sister Laura, who is also a psychotherapist.
  • She played with many bands over her career. She started with Big Brother, and then used the Joplinaires, the Kozmic Blues Band, and the Full Tilt Boogie Band as backing groups.
  • She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 – the same year as Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers Band, Frank Zappa, Al Green, Martha and the Vandellas, and Neil Young.
  • Her ashes were scattered off the coast of California.
  • Joplin: “Being an intellectual creates a lot of questions and no answers. You can fill your life up with ideas and still go home lonely. All you really have that really matters are feelings. That’s what music is to me.”
  • In 1967, one of Janis’ lovers was Joe McDonald, of Country Joe and the Fish. They were reportedly quite happy together; they would typically lie together in their apartment and crank up the radio whenever either a Country Joe or a Big Brother (Janis’ band) song would come on. Janis joked that for a while their bands merged into “Country Brother and the Holding Fish.” They broke up very amicably, parting more for their careers than anything else.
  • Probably one of the greatest tragedies that shaped Janis’ worldview and hence life was her having been born and raised in the small oil town of Port Arthur, Texas. Many times she would refer to the relentless bullying she’d been a victim of in that most conservative of US states. She spent most of her adult life seeking the approval and acceptance she’d never found in school. In 1969, just after a September concert at the Hollywood Bowl, she played for a packed audience in Austin, Texas, in October. Of the audience described in the papers as “frantically enthusiastic,” she remarked afterwards “I used to go to school here and they never treated me like this!”
  • Janis’s father Seth Joplin was an engineer at a Texas plant in Port Arthur. Both he and Dorothy East, his wife and Janis’s mother, wanted their daughter to become a schoolteacher.
  • Producer John Simon recalls that Janis Joplin would methodically practice various kinds of shrieks and screams which, of course, were made to seem like spontaneous, instinctive explosions of emotion in concert. “She’d go, ‘How about this scream?’ She’d say, ‘Tina Turner does this,’ or ‘Mama Thornton does it this way.'”

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