To Janis, with love

I wasn’t into Janis Joplin. She seemed too much, too loud, too strange for me as a child. She had already passed when I came to start being anyone so I heard often about her tragic death, which they said to be young and I thought otherwise. She was only 27 years old. Just a girl.

In October 2020 we reached the 50th anniversary of her departure. She was found dead, alone, after a heroin overdose at a hotel room. Janis was about to release her latest album, perfectly named as Pearl.

It’s usual now to say people that came ahead of time, which in her case was the truth. Janis Joplin was born and raised in a small town in Texas, being from yearly on a misfit in either beauty standards or behavior. She was raised in a traditional family and felt awkward, ugly, lost and was frequently bullied at the school. No wonder she felt hopless.

Music opened a window in her soul and the hippie movement, in vogue then, made her a follower. She was shy, overweight and with acne, only singing was when she felt loved and appreciated. She fought against depression for all her life and drugs and buzz gave her the false feeling of oblivion for her pains. She soon became addicted.

When Janis left the University for San Francisco she had just been elected “the ugliest man on campus”. She never truly overcame the humiliation.

With the band Big Brother & The Holding Company she invented rock ‘n roll. Their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival is legendary, thanks to Janis. Piece of My Heart became a hit and she was an international star.

However, depression never allowed her to be her full. She tried to make amends with her hometown and family to no avail. At this point, she was already addicted and hard to deal with.

She spent a few months in Brazil as a detox. According to her family, she found her true love here and was looking up for life. It’s all on the beautiful documentary With love, Janis (2015).

When she wen back to the States though, she took up ver vices once again. And started working on Pearl. She was hopeful, happy and then she went alone to her hotel room…

Her birthday is on January 19th. Here’s my homage to an incredible voice and woman, mostly misunderstood.

A playlist with 10 hits of Janis Joplin

Read and listen too:

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