Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series, “Women in History Week,” where wefind out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!


When it comes to discussing influential women in rock history, you absolutely cannot skip over Janis Joplin. In terms of musical style, she adopted more of a psychedelic blues sound herself, but her impact on the genre reaches far beyond her specific sound. Joplin’s expressiveness and sense of self in a time where society still had expectations on how a woman should behave were quite frankly groundbreaking. Janis wasn’t afraid of embracing her sexuality on stage and was also one of the first artists to sport a visible tattoo while in the public eye.

Her career may have been short, but her mark on the music scene inspired countless other performers.

She Didn’t Fit In With Her Peers

Joplin was born on Jan. 19, 1943, in the racially segregated town of Port Arthur, Texas. Her early belief in desegregation set her apart from her high school peers, and they often teased her for being different. As a result, Joplin would frequently skip classes, attending only what she needed in order to graduate. Her proud stance on segregation was linked to her love of blues music, particularly the music of iconic singers Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith.

She Tried To Be Conservative — And Failed

By 1965, Joplin was regularly using amphetamines, and other drugs. She left San Francisco and went home to Texas to try to get her life back on track. She took a break from music and partying and tried hard to lead a more conventional lifestyle — even dressing conservatively and putting her hair in a bun — but it was short-lived.

She Needed A Band To Break Into Music

The lure of the music scene was too much for Joplin to resist, and in 1966 she returned to San Francisco and joined the psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. (She was actually due to get married that year but called off the wedding to join the band.) The band’s performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival earned them rave reviews, and their 1968 album, “Cheap Thrills,” was a huge hit.

Ultimately, She Was Better Off Alone

As the frontwoman of the band, Joplin’s powerful vocals and drug- and alcohol-fueled performances (she often drank booze straight from the bottle during gigs) got most of the attention, which eventually led to friction between Joplin and her bandmates. Joplin also felt that the band was holding her back professionally, and she eventually decided to go solo. Her last performance with Big Brother and the Holding Company was in December 1968.

She Loved Painting And Poetry

Joplin was an outspoken rebel, but she also had a sensitive side. Her interests included painting, reading and writing poetry. When she appeared on “The Dick Cavett Show” with actress Raquel Welch, she encouraged Welch to read F. Scott Fitzgerald. In 1991, an oil painting by 13-year-old Joplin was found in a supply cabinet at her old church and donated to the Museum of Gulf Coast.

She Once Broke A Bottle Over Jim Morrison’s Head

Joplin and musician Jim Morrison had a love of drinking in common, but Joplin was turned off by Morrison’s obnoxious behavior. At a party held by producer Paul Rothchild, Joplin rejected Morrison’s advances, but he persisted — until Joplin hit him over the head with a bottle of Southern Comfort. According to the biography, “Break On Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison” by James Riordan, despite being knocked out by the blow, Morrison continued to admire Joplin, enthusing, “What a great woman! She’s terrific!”

She Performed With Tina Turner

Joplin was a big fan of Tina Turner. During a 1969 interview on “The Dick Cavett Show,” Cavett asked Joplin who she goes to see when she wants to see a good concert. “Tina Turner. Fantastic singer, fantastic dancer, fantastic show,” she replied. It seemed that the feeling was mutual: On Nov. 27, 1969, Joplin joined Tina on stage at Madison Square Garden for an impromptu duet.

She Never Knew How Successful She Would Be

Joplin’s first solo album, “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!”, released in 1969, wasn’t a big success. In fact, true solo success didn’t come until after her death, with the posthumous album release of “Pearl.” Joplin was still working on “Pearl” when she died, meaning producer Paul Rothchild had to finish the project without her.


Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series, “Women in History Week,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Women’s History Month: Celebrating the Iconic ‘Queen of Soul’

During Women’s History Month we pause to remember and celebrate the achievements of iconic women who positively contributed to shaping the social fabric of America.

One such woman is the spectacular singer, Aretha Franklin. She is still affectionately known as the “Queen of Soul” to her countless millions of fans and others worldwide who span generations of every race, color, gender, age and ethnicity.

Aretha Franklin’s music transcended gender and race.

Life and Legacy

On August 16, 2018, the world lost one of the greatest singers of all time.
Aretha Louise Franklin, the Memphis-born, Detroit-raised singer passed
away at the age of 76.

Franklin had one of the most distinguished voices ever. For more than half a century, her music etched itself into popular culture as readily as the air we breathe and the water we drink.

For many of us, her music was an essential part of our lives.

Her songs nourished our minds, souls, and body. After all, she was indeed the “Queen of Soul!”

Aretha made you move, jump, snap your fingers, move your shoulders, bob
your head, and shuffle your feet. In short, your entire body was invigorated at some level when Ms. Franklin sang.

Earning Respect

In 1967, millions of American women cheered when she powerfully belted
out the words R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Her vocal performance was so dynamic and
powerful.

“Respect” was originally recorded by Otis Redding.

Redding’s song discussed how a woman should respond to and treat the man in her life.

However, Franklin, with an undeniable maturity and unrestrained confidence, took Redding’s message, went on the offense, and produced a revised version that became both a feminist and civil rights anthem.

Franklin was known for her powerful voice. She was also known as a Diva – VH1 devoted a special in her honor with the 2001 show VH1 Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin.

In 1987, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

She was married to her manager, Ted White, from 1962-1969. Like most of her personal life, Aretha refused to discuss it in the press.

She had a lifelong fear of flying, and after a shaky flight aboard a twin-engine plane in 1984, she has refused to fly. This has limited her touring considerably, and cost her the lead role in a musical biography of Mahalia Jackson.

Aretha was a talented piano player. She played on her 1967 hit “Respect.”

She played a waitress in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers. This was during a nadir in her career, between her astounding run of hits in the ’60s and ’70s and her resurgence in the mid-’80s.

In 2008, she was voted Greatest Singer Of All Time by the musicians and journalists selected by Rolling Stone magazine to name their favorite singers of the Rock era. Following Aretha were Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke and John Lennon. >>

According to her concert contract, Aretha Franklin liked to receive $25,000 of her performance fee in cash on the night of a concert. The rider for her live shows also stated that the Queen of Soul and her security personnel must be accommodated in hotel rooms below the 5th floor.

Aretha Franklin held the mark for the most Hot 100 entries among women from 1977 until 2017, when Nicki Minaj overtook her total of 73 visits to the chart.

Aretha Franklin’s voice was legally declared one of Michigan’s natural resources in 1985.

Starting in 1988, she sang the theme song to the popular Cosby Show spinoff A Different World for most of its six-season run (it was originally performed by Phoebe Snow and later Boyz II Men). Aretha’s ex-husband Glynn Turman, whom she married in 1978 and divorced in 1984, played math professor Colonel Taylor on the show.

Aretha Franklin went to the same school, Hutchins Junior High, as Lamont Dozier. She was a year younger than the future Motown songwriter; he used to go every Sunday to her father’s church just to watch her perform.

She had four children, all boys. The first came when she was 12 years old; the second when she was 14.

In 1968, a faux Franklin named Vickie Jones started playing shows in Florida as Aretha, keeping up the ruse until Franklin’s people found out and had her arrested. Jones thought she was booked as the opening act for Franklin when she traveled to Florida at the behest of her promoter, who told her she would instead be performing as Franklin. Jones could sing so convincingly that audiences thought she was the real deal. She was found innocent, and her arrest brought her enough notoriety to draw respectable crowds touring under her own name.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series, “Women in History Week,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Happy Women’s History Month! Today we celebrate Madonna.

With 16 Guinness World Records, 7 Grammys, and 68 nominations for the MTV Music Awards, it’s safe to say Madonna will go down in history as a pop icon. There’d be no Gaga, Britney or any other pop songstress without her.

She won a Golden Globe for her work on the movie Evita as Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

Has Madonna won a grammy? She has in fact won several. Madonna has received 28 Grammy Awards nominations and has won seven of them. The pop star was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Although most fans are well acquainted with her hit songs, such as “Like a Virgin,” “Like a Prayer,” and “Material Girl,” an impressive career in films such as Evita and Desperately Seeking Susan, and status as a fashion legend and ultimate material girl, there are still more things than you can learn about Madonna if you dig a little deeper into her life.

The man who registered the domain name madonna.com wanted to give it to a group of nuns in Lincoln, Nebraska. Madonna sued and won control of the name.

Madonna most likely learned a lot of her patented dance moves performing on the cheer team at Rochester Adams High School.

Madonna worked at Dunkin’ Donuts while trying to make ends meet as a dancer in New York City, however, she reportedly lost her job after she squirted jelly at a customer.

Madonna has stretched her creativity beyond entertainment, writing over 20 children’s books since her first publication, The English Roses, in 2003.

Madonna said that she suffers from brontophobia, the fear of thunder and lightning.

While the relationship between Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow has been well documented, most people do not know that Paltrow was actually the Maid of Honor at Madonna’s 2000 wedding to Guy Ritchie.

In 1979, she was the drummer for the band The Breakfast Club. It was her boyfriend’s band, and he got her in.

She has four brothers and three sisters. Madonna was the oldest girl, and had to change a lot of diapers growing up.

Her mother died of breast cancer when she was five. Her father later married the housekeeper and insisted that the kids call her “Mom.” Madonna refused.

After attending Catholic school, she went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on a dance scholarship. She stayed only one semester before leaving to pursue her dream in New York City. She said, “It was the first time I’d ever taken a plane, the first time I’d ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with $35 in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I’d ever done.”

Madonna’s full birth name is Madonna Louise Ciccone (“Veronica” was added when she was confirmed in the Catholic Church). Madonna’s surname, Ciccone, is very close to the insulting Italian word for “fat man” (ciccione). Her father is Italian, her mother was French-Canadian.

When asked what she would be if she wasn’t a rock star, her answer was, “a nun.”

In 2001, a company called Condomania released a Madonna condom, with photos of her as a young dancer on the package.

In 2007, she left the Warner Music Group, where she had released all of her albums over the past 25 years, and signed a comprehensive deal with Live Nation, who became responsible for marketing all of her music and music-related business over the next 10 years. This became know in the industry as a “360 deal,” as it became clear that selling music was just one aspect of marketing an artist.

When she started out, Madonna’s signature look included bleached hair, crucifix jewelry, black jelly bracelets, and fishnet stockings. Jewelry designer and stylist Maripol was Madonna’s stylist, and had a huge role in creating her look, which was emulated by her fans.

She began studying the Kabbalah faith after giving birth to her first daughter, Lourdes, in 1996. In reference to her dedication, she adopted the Persian name Esther, meaning “star.” In defense of her religious beliefs, Madonna has said, “It would be less controversial if I joined the Nazi Party.”

Madonna dated the late rapper Tupac Shakur back in 1994. Speaking during the Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM Radio the singer admitted the relationship led to her swearing excessively when she appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. “I was mad at [David Letterman] when I said the F-word a lot. I was dating Tupac Shakur at the time and the thing is he got me all riled up on life in general,” Madonna said. “So when I went on the show I was feeling very gangsta.”

Movies she has appeared in include Desperately Seeking Susan, Dick Tracy, A League Of Their Own, Shanghai Surprise, Body Of Evidence, Dangerous Game, Swept Away, and Evita.

Madonna left The Breakfast Club in the early 1980s as she’d decided to go solo. Her music impressed DJ and producer Mark Kamins, who arranged a meeting between Madonna and Sire records founder Seymour Stein. He signed her on the spot. Seymour recalled to Mojo magazine:”I met this young club DJ, Mark Kamins, who I thought was special so I gave him a budget to find new artists for him to work with. The third or fourth was Madonna and he produced a track called ‘Everybody,’ which I thought very good. I’d been in hospital for about 9 days, but I called him saying I would like to meet her and try to do a deal. He called back at five o’clock saying we’ll be over at eight. She’d been turned down by a number of people including one of my idols, Chris Blackwell of Island records, so when she walked in she really wanted a deal. I thought she’ll be quite big, but after her fourth single ‘Borderline’ I knew there be stopping no stopping her.”

In 2003 Madonna became the first person to receive Razzle awards for Worst Actress (Swept Away), Worst Supporting Artist (Die Another Day) and Worst Screen Couple (Swept Away).

Madonna was 15 when she saw her first concert: David Bowie at Cobo Arena in Detroit. Since then, he’s been one of her heroes. She recalled to Mojo: “I remember just being frozen. Rigid. Like, staring up at this creature thinking. Oh my God, he’s everything. He’s male and female and beautiful and elegant and poetic and funny and ironic and (pauses, tearing up slightly) other-worldly. And I recognized myself in him somehow and he gave me license to dream a different future for myself.”

She was the biggest star not invited to sing on the 1985 charity single “We Are The World,” which speaks to how she was perceived by the music establishment. Among the artists who were invited: Kim Carnes, Steve Perry (of Journey), Cyndi Lauper and John Oates.

Madonna got inked for the very first time at age 62. The tattoo, which reads “LRDMSE”, is dedicated to her six children; it stands for Lourdes, Rocco, David, Mercy, Stella and Estere.

Even after hitting age 60, Madonna has no plans of slowing down, saying that she will only retire when she runs out of ideas to stay creative.

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