This is the Janis I want to remember. The laughing, smiling, giggling Janis. The, life is good and I’m going to ride it to the sky like a winged Pegasus until I fly too close to the sun, Janis. The– I can sing the blues till the sun comes up, sip on a bottle of Wild Turkey and do it all over again that night–Janis.
To say she was unique is like saying sand is gritty or water is wet. There was no mold to build a Janis Joplin from. She grew from a little girl in Port Arthur, Tx, to become the preeminent blues singer of the sixties. She had barbed wire for vocal cords and when she took the stage magic happened. She became part of the music. It’s not like you just went to see Janis. In some ways it was like an out of body event. To use words like awe and wonder minimizes the whole experience.
And then she was gone. In the wake of her tragic death a generation mourned and in many ways it would never be the same again. The Summer of Love turned into the Autumn of Absence. Jimi Hendrix and two weeks later Janis Joplin was more than I could bear and I wept like many others, grieving a life lost we only knew in song. I felt a hole in my soul where the cold wind blows.
“Being an intellectual creates a lot of questions and no answers. You can fill your life up with ideas and still go home lonely. All you really have that really matters are feelings. That’s what music is to me.”