Unforgettable Live Performances – Janis Joplin Live at Monterrey 1967

Janis Joplin´s “breakthrough” performance at the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967.

I remember the first time I heard Janis Joplin. It was the musical background for an advert for Arequipe Alpina in the late 80´s – early 1990´s. Arequipe is similar to Dulce de Leche, and for those of you interested: a cool recipe. Arequipe is one of my favorite flavors in the world, and certainly my favorite dessert. It is decadent, sweet and almost to good to be true. Whoever decided to put Janis Joplin and Arequipe together: thank you anonymous genius! I will treasure that mind connection always! The advert had a studio version, but since this is an unforgetable performances post, you can check out Janis´amazing version of “Summertime” also.

Janis Lyn Joplin was an American Singer songwriter who appeared on the scene in the late 60´s. She had been lead singer for Big Brother and the Holding Company and later became a solo artist. She was born in Texas on January 19th, 1943. She had 2 siblings but her mother says that she always gave more attention to Janis. When Janis was a teenager she befriended outcasts who introduced her to singers like Odetta, Billie Holiday and Big Mama Thorton.

She had a hard time at school, she was bullied and she won the title for “Ugliest Man in Class”. She actually went to High school with G.W. Bailey.

The unforgettable life performance I chose I chose because it was her breakthrough performance, but she was just constantly an amazing performer.

Ball and Chain – Janis Joplin. Monterrey Pop Festival

In this unique version of Big Mama Thornton´s “Ball n´Chain”

“Sittin’ down by my window,
Honey, lookin’ out at the rain.
Lord, Lord, Lord, sittin’ down by my window,
Baby, lookin’ out at the rain.
Somethin’ came along, grabbed a hold of me,
And it felt just like a ball and chain.
Honey, that’s exactly what it felt like,
Honey, just dragging me down.”

It starts off slow like the song, but by the end of the first verse the audience has already fallen at her feet, and you can see how she was not just singing the song, she was FEELING it…I think that is where her super power was, she could deliver a song and you felt her pain or her anger or her emotion like no other performer or only a few could. I think she channeled the lyrics and they drained her, she gave herself completely in every song. By 3.29 into the performance you can see Mama Cass (from The Mamas and the Papas) blown away and at the end the camera goes back to Cass and you can read her lips saying “Wow! That was heavy”

Mama Cass
Mama Cass

Joplin generated such a buzz that she was one of the hottest acts in Woodstock.

Joplin was also a painter, a multi-instrumentalist, a dancer and a music arranger. She was one of the most electric and captivating performers ever. One of the last performances she had was on June 25th, 1970 in the Dick Cavett Show

Get it while you can – Janis Joplin

Sunday, October 4, 1970, just 16 days after Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin was found in the Hotel where she was staying dead of an overdose. She was only 27 years old (now, like Jimi, a member of the infamous 27 club). I found a text with the news of Janis´ death on the New York Times. I think (and I am pretty sure I am not alone in this) she had a very sensitive soul, she felt everything deeply and she needed to balance all those emotions. Like many artists she did it with alcohol and drugs. I think it is very ironic that the first song she recorded was “What Good Can Drinkin’ Do“.

She released 4 studio albums:

– Big Brother and the Holding Company

– Cheap Thrills

– I Got Dem Ol´Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

– Pearl



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