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Rock Rewind: Janis Joplin “Piece Of My Heart”

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!



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About the Author


Tim Ferrar's interest in pop and rock started as a child, listening to Top-40 radio for hours on end while playing air guitar in his bedroom. Eventually air guitar led to electric guitar, and Tim began playing in bands and writing his own songs. With an admitted weakness for "a great hook or a great guitar riff," Tim's musical tastes are broad and varied, ranging from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga on the pop side to Bon Jovi and Foo Fighters on the rock side- making him the ideal guy to cover our Rock and Pop categories. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered accountant in Chicago. By night, he rocks out on electric guitar in a cover band in various clubs around town- much to the surprise of some of his clients.

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