When I was about fifteen years old, I heard Janis Joplin for the first time on the classic rock station. It was “Piece of My Heart.” I asked my mom, “Who is that?!!” She said in a very unexcited voice “Janis Joplin,” I sensed some eye-rolling in her tone. She wished that I was more into Simon & Garfunkel or something quiet and poetic.
A short while later, I bought my first CD. It was “Cheap Thrills” by Big Brother and the Holding Company. I felt like everything I was listening to at the time, with the exception of Motown and classic rock, was crap.
Why wasn’t I listening to stuff that was good? Well, I was a teenager and I listened to whatever was played on the top 40 radio station. Basically, they played crap and I bought into it. I’m not saying it was all bad. I’m just saying that a lot of it lacked substance. It wasn’t really heartfelt.
So Janis Joplin was my gateway into good music. Or at least discovering what other music was out there besides what the radio told me.
I also visited her hometown of Port Arthur, Texas. Seriously, the most twisted bridge ever is in Port Arthur. There isn’t much there. However, there is a museum with a section dedicated to Janis. I bought a postcard. The clerk wondered who those pioneers were on the postcard. It was Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin.