Her career may have been short but MAN did Janis Joplin make a lasting impact on Rock and Roll. She was found dead 46 years ago today in her hotel room, October 4th, 1970.
We have a local connection to Janis in the area too…
From Rolling Stone:
When Janis Joplin failed to show up at Sunset Sound Studios by 6 p.m., Paul Rothschild, her producer, gave in to the strange “flashing” he had been feeling all day and sent John Cooke, a road manager for the Full Tilt Boogie Band, over to the Landmark Motor Hotel to see why she wasn’t answering her phone. “I’d never worried about her before,” Rothschild said, “although she’d been late lots of times. It was usually that she stopped to buy a pair of pants or some chick thing like that.” October 4th was a Sunday however, and there were few places to go, even in Hollywood. Even for Janis.
The Landmark is a big stucco building on Franklin Avenue. It is convenient to the sound studios on Sunset Blvd. and near the offices of the record companies and music publishers. It is painted a garish “sunburst orange” and “bear brown” (according to the man at the desk), and it is the favorite motel for visiting performers. The lobby has large plastic plants and some vaguely psychedelic designs on its walls, but the motel’s attraction is its tolerance. The guy behind the desk remembered, laughing, the time a guest called to complain about the noise from a series of rooms where members of the Jefferson Airplane were having a party. “The guy who complained was thrown out,” he said. It was Janis’ kind of place.
When John Cooke got there it was almost 7 p.m. He noticed Janis’ car in the lot, and that the drapes in her first floor room were drawn. She didn’t answer her door when he knocked, or even when he banged and yelled. He spoke to the manager, Jack Hagy, who agreed that they should go into the room. Janis was lying wedged between the bed and a nightstand, wearing a short nightgown. Her lips were bloody when they turned her over, and her nose was broken. She had $4.50 clutched in one hand.
Cooke called a doctor, then phoned Janis’ attorney, Robert Gordon. Gordon claims he went over the room carefully but found no narcotics or drug paraphernalia. The police were called. When they arrived at around 9 p.m., they too, found no drugs or “works.” But they told reporters Janis had “fresh needle marks on her arm, 10 to 14 of them, on her left arm.”
By the time the 11 p.m. newscaster had finished his brief report, phone calls were already spreading wild rumors – Janis had been killed by some jealous guy, by a dealer, even by the CIA; Janis had done herself in because of some guy, because she thought she was fading, because she’d always been self-destructive. Each new theory had its “informed” proponents, and each was equally groundless.
Her big break was at the Monterey Pop Festival, where she helped her band at the time, Big Brother and The Holding Company, get signed to Columbia records with her performance.
She produced three albums, two released before her death, one after. We lost her to a heroin overdose, but maybe that’s because she was just focused on the moment, heres a quote:
“Maybe I won’t last as long as other singers, but I think you can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.”
She’s one of the famous ladies that are part of the 27 club, gone too early.
Known as Pearl to her friends and the queen of psychedelic soul, she left us 46 years ago today, at least she left us a piece of her heart, in her music.
Here’s one of her last interviews on the Dick Cavett Show.
Fun fact, the guy who started Full Tilt Boogie Band with her, John Till, is from around here, alive and well in Stratford, Ontario.