Forty-four years ago today—on October 4, 1970—rock legend Janis Joplin was late for a recording session at Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles. Concerned, her road manager drove to her hotel and found her in her room, dead from a heroin overdose. Sixteen days prior, the world had lost Jimi Hendrix to a similar fate. (Both were 27 years old at the time of their passing, giving rise to the unfortunate term “The 27 Club.”)
During her short, turbulent career, Joplin’s growling voice and passionate stage presence had a profound effect on the evolution of rock music, most notably breaking ground for female vocalists within the genre. Arguably, few female rock singers before or since have had such a remarkable influence on those who followed after, paving the way for the likes of Stevie Nicks, Pink and Florence Welch (all of whom cite Joplin as an influence).
Joplin’s hit “Piece Of My Heart” was originally written and recorded by Erma Franklin (Aretha’s older sister) in 1967, but Joplin’s version, recorded with her band Big Brother & The Holding Company, gained much more traction on the charts. Today, the song is quite possibly her most-remembered hit.
Of course, Janis Joplin passed long before the music video era—however, a number of powerful live performances were still captured on film. Below, we share a video of a live performance in Germany in 1968 of “Piece Of My Heart.” Enjoy!