Janis Joplin tunes

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Janis Joplin’s best album was released three months after she’d joined the 27 Club!

Janis Joplin’s very short career span of only four years and as many albums as she joined the 27 Club on the 4th of October 1970, after a heroin overdose paired with excessive alcohol consumption.

Her final solo album was released posthumously. Entitled Pearl, it did have her best work on it but let’s start from the beginning.

In 1967, Janis was the lead singer of Big Brother & The Holding Company. After a well-received performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, Columbia Records took over the rights for their debut album from indie label Mainstream Records.

Columbia relaunched the album with a new front cover, now having Janis Joplin’s name printed on it, clearly recognizing her as the star of the show.

The debut album had one minor hit in Down On Me but even with the backing of Columbia, it was not a success.

The follow-up, Cheap Thrills (1968) was a studio album with added fake crowd noise. Two big tunes came from this album, a cover of jazz standard Summertime and Piece of My Heart.

Piece of My Heart was a tune everyone was recording in the late 60s, including Aretha Franklin’s sister Erma, and Dusty Springfield, Dusty changed the title slightly.

The next studio album from Janis was her first solo adventure, dubbed I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! (1969). Unfortunately, the record didn’t contain any hit tunes but to be fair, neither did her old band’s album which without her was released the following year, both on Columbia.

On Janis’s solo debut, there was an attempt to turn Bee Gees hit To Love Somebody into a blues but it didn’t really work and wasn’t even released as a single.

Finally, Janis’s masterpiece, Pearl was released just three months after her death from misadventure.

Here we get her best work in Move Over, Me and Bobby McGee (a Kris Kristofferson cover), and Mercedes Benz. The latter two have both become huge tunes. In my opinion, Move Over is an underrated, but fantastic addition to a female-lead blues rock band’s setlist.

Move Over is also a great exercise for a guitarist to sync with the singer of the band. I really should record it and turn it into guitar lessons!

Janis Joplin tunes | Related pages

Me and Bobby McGee

Me and Bobby McGee chords.

G | G |
Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin’ for a train.
G | D |
When I’s feelin’ near as faded as my jeans.

Me and Bobby McGee chords.

Piece of My Heart

Piece of My Heart chords

E A | B A |
Didn’t I make you feel like you
E A | B A |
were the only man? Well, yeah!

Piece of My Heart chords.


Summertime chords

Bbm7 F7b9/C | Db6 F7b9/C | Bbm7 F7b9/C | Db6 F7b9/C |
Summertime, and the living is easy.
Ebm7 Gb | Ebm7 Ebm7/Db | F7b9/C Gb7 | F7 |
Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high.

Summertime chords.

Janis Joplin on the web

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