Janis Joplin, nothing to touch her.

Janis Joplin and my thoughts on her.

The first thing one must understand is, I used to be able to hear perfectly. Janis Joplin was born on January 19th. 1943. I was born 20th December 1954. Janis Joplin so sadly passed on the 4th. of October 1970. I’m still alive at this moment. Sometime in 1973 I lost all my hearing but I’m eternally grateful I had the pleasure to hear her sing. I never heard another sound for twenty years and then medicine came to my aid in the form of a Cochlear Ear Implant. This means that I can now hear again, but, it’s so different. To cut a long story short basically I hear sound but battle to interpret this, which brings us back to Janis Joplin. So, because of the enormous strides made by computers I love listening to songs I can remember from when I used to be able to hear properly. It makes it better still if I can get the lyrics as the song plays along. I’m going to try something different firstly for a change and see if it works? I implore any reader to listen and think before I carry on with this epistle.

Me and Bobby McGee. Janis Joplin.

Now wasn’t that just out of this world? The way she changes her voice so often, the

Janis Joplin at school and later.

Janis Joplin at school and later.

nuances she puts into it all. A stunning performance for me anyway. Before I go deeper into this article let’s just first think about this song and the words, always remembering that it was a long time ago, and for some strange reason, many young people during this era were challenging long held beliefs and promiscuity and hedonism were gaining popularity. “Busted flat in Baton Rouge  waiting for a train.And I’s feeling almost as faded as my jeans. Bobby thumbed a diesel down it rode us all the way to New Orleans.”Sound familiar? Any young people then remember those times and the WHY? 

“Windshield wipers slapping time, I’s holding Bobby’s hand in mine, we sang every song that driver knew. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose?” Just what exactly does she mean by ‘Freedom’? Anyway the song goes on about the experience she had with Bobby and then one day he dies, but he was looking for something and “I hope one day he finds it?” And then comes for me, the most haunting line in the entire song and in it’s way it sums up her sadness and I guess many others who have lost things they loved. Be it a friend, a lover, a farm, or a country. “But I’d trade all my tomorrow’s for one yesterday?”

Janis Joplin, a pictorial.

Now there is something which I have been battling to understand for many, many, many, years now, which is. Whatever happened to people in the 50’s and 60’s which made them want to change the World upside down (topsy turvey) so to speak? Especially women. Which is really what I want to talk about here. Personally I believe most, if not all of it, has to with the contraceptive pill? For centuries the reality for women was, ‘don’t sleep with a guy’, as you are going to get pregnant. It’s that simple and it’s that complex. Which again is why men and women had or used to have, such different views on sex. I can feel a headache coming on. Basically then, women had little or no protection during all these years, not for want of trying though. Female condoms, diaphragms which non were foolproof, so keep your legs together girls. I really must have led a secluded life because never once, not ever, did it occur to me that women wanted’ it’ as much as we men did. Oh, ye devils ye.The reality is of course they did and even more so than us. During the second World War the advances made in medicine and science were staggering. People born during this era such as Janis Joplin took advantage of it and in my mind this is were the revolution began. Young people had just had enough and so came Woodstock. Far out man, groovy music, burn those bra’s baby, bring back the flopping tits, and let’s make love not war.

SEX, DRUGS, AND ROCK AND ROLL.

It sure is a strange World because someone like Janis Joplin grew up believing she was a

Janis Joplin, actually not so bad looking after all.

Janis Joplin, actually not so bad looking after all.

‘dog’ (ugly), even at the peak of her fame. Well I am a man and don’t think she was ugly, not for a minute. It just goes to show that you can believe whatever you want to believe. More importantly I think that in her case she really couldn’t live a normal life as most of us can, everybody wanted a piece of her action so to speak and wherever she went she was mobbed, which in turn led to a form of being a recluse with little or no real friends. George Best was another one like this, people who were just so gifted. George turned to booze and Janis turned to drugs. For the life of me I cannot understand (not having touched a drug in my life not even a puff of dagga), why people do this. Having said that I have been a drinker (pisscat) all of my life. Booze is of course not frowned upon or illegal whereas drugs are. So Janis Joplin turned more and more into the drug scene, and then one day the terrible thing happened and she overdosed and was no longer with us. How terribly sad. Which brings us back to sex. In today’s world the contraceptive pill taken properly actually means no more unwanted pregnancies. Furthermore, the sad thing about all this is, nothing has really changed, you see women actually think differently about this than we do? It is in their genes as it has been for centuries. What entails is because of this and peer pressure they sleep with guys whom they are not really ready for and it has dire consequences. It screws their heads and they cannot understand why there is no magic. Then one day they meet the right guy and he has the terrible job of trying to unscrew their heads. You don’t believe me? In today’s world the majority of women have had more sexual partners than the man. I silly you not. So the hedonistic value keeps on, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I personally believe the contraceptive pill was a gift from God, so for married women it saved them from a child every year until such time as they were no longer able to have them?

THIS IS MY SONG.

I first heard Petula Clark singing this great song, but cannot seem to find a decent one with lyrics so I can follow better. So I have decided to add one from Engelbert Humperdinck instead.

I care not what the World may be saying. Janis Joplin lived her life along those lines, albeit I have a sneaking suspicion she actually did. R.I.P. Janis Joplin, there was nobody to touch you, then or since, and thanks for the pleasure of your immortal voice.

 

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About spookmoor

I'm a 61 year old happily married man with three grown up children. I lost all my hearing as an eighteen year old whilst doing National Service and then had a Cochlear Ear Implant twenty years later. I love trying to explain these things to people and bits about my life. I never thought so at the time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thus one gets Random ramblings from a man who has seen a lot with a touch of humour underlying all.
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50 Responses to Janis Joplin, nothing to touch her.

  1. There is no denying her talent, Spook but I never really was a fan. There were several ladies who came onto the scene in the 50’s/60’s, Carole King, Joni Mitchell who all had an amazing range to their voices but for one reason or another I didn’t really like their music. As said above, music is very personal. For example, while I acknowledge the impact their music had, I was never really a Beatle fan. Always thought their music somewhat vacuous. Two of their songs are an exception to that rule –Eleanor Rigby and Hey Jude.

    • spookmoor says:

      There you go David, I always loved the Beatles and here you go enjoying my two favourite songs by them, and thanks for the visit and comment.

  2. Lovely to read your take on this 60’s icon Spook. I can really feel and appreciate your “love affaire” with this songstress and commend you for putting pen to paper in tribute. I on the other hand didn’t appreciate her as you did (I guess it may be a timing thing) and preferred other artists of her time, strangely enough. But all in all a great tribute to a person that I do believe needed more recognition for her talents on stage and not for the lurid stories of her escapades. Long may her musical achievements be appreciated and praised.

    • spookmoor says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more Simon and for me there never was anything quite like her voice. People in the end just have different tastes.

  3. Maggi says:

    Come back to read – to add to my previous post, and innocence and yes she was quite beautiful, in fact she glows when she smiles

  4. Tom Meakin says:

    Janis was huge in the prefect’s common room in ’71 but Paul Connolly didn’t like her; called her Jobbies Joplin

  5. Ragges says:

    So enjoy your ramblings Spook, thank you – keep em coming.. 😉

  6. margie says:

    Great read Spookie. Never really listened to her music. But your story does remind me of waiting on Bulawayo station for that train to come in carrying my “troops guy” home. What fun times . No drugs just rock n’roll. Whoops did I miss something out….

  7. Tess Bold says:

    Thanks again Spook for a good read…..Janis Joplin, all I can say is I enjoy her music.Many a singer turned to some form addiction and still do. Its a pity. The sex revolution, well I am not a prude but still believe…..one needs love to go there….

  8. Maggi Mackay says:

    Spook how does one describe her voice – smokey / rough /melancholy / sad / troubled most definitely. So many ways to describe it. Haunting another word maybe.

  9. Janis and Pigpen were great together, http://youtu.be/RmPkgSIkUeM

  10. Mrs. P says:

    I always loved Janis, growing up…her gravely voice…raw and edgy. Frequently sang Bobby McGee at full volume…it’s all fresh in my mind.

    Janice never fit in with her school chums, ran off to Frisco where she made a name, then returned to her home town thinking that now she’d be accepted…she was not. It was quite a blow. There was a great documentary but I couldn’t tell you which one I saw, there were several made. If you haven’t seen them, you should check them out.

  11. Someone else said it in the comments already, I didn’t care for her much as a kid, but I get her music now. The fame that comes with being a popular musician seems to have destroyed many an artist. Amy Wine house is the first name that comes to mind. Another brilliant and talented ‘Bad Girl’ of the music world the self destructed. Wonderful bit of writing Spook. Thanks.

  12. Janis, babe. Still missing that voice and soul. Your long journey too short.

  13. I Am Jasmine Kyle says:

    I love her! I did some research on her and you know she wrote her parents once a week back in Texas. . . Could you imagine Janis Joplin tweeting! She would have been amazing.

  14. Oh what happened to your hearing? And wow 20 years, not hearing a thing??

  15. I love Janis, and like you, I thought she was beautiful! They say she had 13 octives in her a voice, a rare thing. Summertime is one of faves. I never thought of the sexual revolution’s close association to the pill. But yes of course! That makes total sense!

  16. Jim Sinclair says:

    great blog Spook but do not forget the greatest songwriter of all time Kris Kristofferson wrote the song that Janis sings.
    Best wishes Jim

  17. Sherry says:

    Great Article, Spook. Made me think about how different we are from our parents and grandparents. There conversations at our age were not half as interesting. 🙂
    Good to bump into you again. Came via Bulldog’s blog.

  18. bulldog says:

    Reblogged this on The Photographic Journey of bulldog. and commented:
    This is a damn good read written by a school mate from a few years back…

  19. bulldog says:

    Now this woman was a legend in her time… I did not really enjoy her music when I was a little younger than I am now, but it was one of those singers that grew on you, specially after a half a case… her notoriety of drug use was in some way admired by many back in those days… fortunately never touched the stuff, but she did sound good at parties when one could stand and say the normal “yea man” … great post Spook…

  20. Loved the read spook 🙂

  21. Dallas Williams says:

    Great post Spook and the drawing the symbolism of Joplin’s music of the time and the attitude changes of the time in regard to Sex , drugs and rock and roll was terrific. Indeed the pill which came into real prominence during this era did change the culture as nothing in history of this subject. I agree with you as to why the pill was created , to protect women from constant child birth but also in my opinion to stop the killing of unwanted children.

    Indeed you have put a great deal of time and thought into this subject. Thanks for sharing it. Those of us who remember Janis will appreciate her and her music more and those who have not heard much about her will be enlightened for certain.

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