‘Call Me A Singer’: Happy Birthday Janis Joplin


Janis Joplin

Today it’s the birthday of rock and blues singer Janis Joplin (1943 – 1970). She was the first big female rock star. In the sixties she mesmerized the rock audiences with a voice that was raw and tender at the same time. Unfortunately, her drug abuse killed her way too early.

But let’s not mourn. Let’s watch this incredible performance of hers in Germany from 1969 instead. Pay attention to when Janis invites the audience on stage – she really tries hard to make the Germans dance. But to no avail.

Then I suggest you watch the Dick Cavett Interview. Janis complains about the stiff European audience: “Nobody rocks over there, (…) they don’t get down”. You can catch a glimpse of the real Janis, not the “rock star”. She doesn’t want to be called a star:  “Call me a singer” she tells Cavett. In this interview she’s sensitive, humorous, intelligent and a little bit shy.

Before we finish, I’d like to supply you with a little bit of trivia: Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas. Interestingly this is the same place, where Lee Hazlewood (1929 – 2007) spent some of his teenage years. Hazlewood was a singer, songwriter and producer. He wrote and produced the Nancy Sinatra classic “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and recorded some duets with Nancy Sinatra, too.

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