On a previous post about singers who died young, I wrote this about Janis Joplin.
Janis was a blues and rock singer, who lived a very short 27 years, until the lifestyle of heavy drinking and habitual drug use, finally killed her, in 1970. She was fairly unusual in the music industry, a white woman who could sing with the heart and soul of a black blues performer, as well as sounding Country at times too. She fronted the band ‘Big Brother and the Holding Company’ for three years, followed by a successful solo career up to her death. She performed at the Woodstock Festival, and the Monterey Festival, and had a series of hit records, mostly in the USA. Her album ‘Pearl’ is rightly regarded as a classic, and her recording of ‘Piece of my heart’, is considered to be the definitive version. She is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is cited by many later singers as a big influence on their own careers.
I mention the album ‘Pearl’, released in 1971, not long after her death. It contained her massive-selling version of ‘Me and Bobby McGee, as well as other songs that showcased her powerful voice, and distinctive tone. I was only 19 when I bought this album on vinyl. I listened to it a lot at the time, but soon moved on to other things, losing the record somewhere along the way. Many years later, I bought it again, this time on CD. I was again impressed by her performance, and particularly with one track, ‘Trust Me’. I found myself playing this over and over. Even now, I will often search out the CD, and put it on just to hear this track. It gets to me in a way I have no good explanation for. This simple blues song has had a hold on me, on and off, for 43 years. That is its significance.