Get It While You Can

Janis Lyn Joplin died 40 years ago today in the Landmark Hotel, Los Angeles. For more on her life and career, try the biographies and other extensive information at (official site), (unofficial), Wikipedia and

Like Otis Redding, Joplin potentially had so much more to give creatively, effectively illustrated by the fact that while many have tried to emulate her, none have really come that close.

That they are able to try is testament to how Janis didn’t just open the doors to the male dominated world of rock, she blew them right off their hinges.

All the links below go to video or audio of interviews and songs, live wherever possible because that’s really what Queen Janis was all about.

“The thing about Janis is that she just looked so unique, an ugly duckling dressed as a princess, fearlessly so. Seeing her live was like watching a boxing match. Her performance was so in your face and electrifying that it really put you right there in the moment. There you were living your nice little life in the suburbs and suddenly there was this train wreck, and it was Janis.”

Chrissie Hynde

[Tom Wilkes]

Shy “superstar rock lady“.

[Baron Wolman]

Spiritual descendant of Bessie Smith, queen of the blues.

[Jim Marshall]

World famous yet sadly lonely – “Onstage, I make love to 25,000 people – then I go home alone.”

[Steve Banks]

Owner of one of the greatest sets of lungs ever known.


“I read a story about some old opera singer once, and when a guy asked her to marry him, she took him backstage after she had sung a real triumph, with all the people calling for her, asked, ‘Do you think you could give me that?’ That story hit me right, man. I know no guy ever made me feel as good as an audience.”

Janis Joplin


“I’m thrilled!! I can be Haight-Ashbury’s first pin-up“.

Janis Joplin, letter to sister

[Baron Wolman]

Texan ‘beatnik’, civil rights activist and infectious cackler.


Not the most popular girl in high school.

[Amalie R. Rothschild]

“Janis was like an angel who came and paved a road white chicks hadn’t walked before. I began feeling proud to be her role model. When I heard her sing, I recognized my influence, but I also heard the electricity and rage in her own voice. I loved her attitude.”

Etta James


“People, whether they know it or not, like their blues singers miserable. They like their blues singers to die afterwards.”

Janis Joplin

[Jim Marshall]

Wearer of extraordinary and improbable headgear. Much missed legend.

PS, I obviously couldn’t write this post without including ‘Piece of my Heart‘. Turn that one up to eleven.