Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dirty Little Janis?!?

I was only aware of Janis Joplin for a couple of years before she died in 1970, less than two months before my 14th birthday. One thing I do remember about her from that era was that a lot of people whom I knew seemed to be of the opinion that she sure was a great singer, but she wasn't much to look at. Or, for those with a different set of priorities, she wasn't much to look at, but she sure was a great singer.

In the intervening years, I've seen a lot of photos of Janis. A lot. And I think she was very attractive, actually. Not what you'd call a "world class beauty," perhaps... no supermodel, admittedly... but so what? Who am I -- and who is anyone else -- to judge her?

Take a look at the following two shots, in which she's doing what she did best, and try to tell me she wasn't pretty.

Her talent as a singer ranks her up with the best of the best. She had a remarkable ability to transcend even the most mundane songs, and her unparalleled vocal phrasing came from a place that relatively few others have ever touched, nor even seen from a distance. I once left a comment on someone else's blog -- I don't recall whose, but it was probably Roy's -- saying that she could approach a tune like Jimi Hendrix could approach a guitar solo.

Now, why am I writing about Janis today? Well, as I mentioned above, I've seen a lot of photos of the lady over the years, but not long ago, I encountered this one:

Maybe you've seen it before, perhaps a long time ago. I hadn't. Which surprises me somewhat, especially when you consider that it found its way onto the cover of this magazine:

Anyway, I was sure I'd never seen that photo before. Positive. And yet, somehow, it did seem vaguely familiar.

It took me a while to figure it out, but finally, I remembered where I'd seen that image -- kinda/sorta -- before. It was on the inside of Elton John's 1973 double album, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

Hmm. I'm rather offended by the artist's choice of a "model" to illustrate a very good song that nevertheless had absolutely nothing to do with the enchanted Ms. Joplin. Dirty little Janis? I think not!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ This is totally unrelated to today's post, but... For those of you who complain that my constantly changing Blogger profile avatars never actually show the real me, here's an actual photo of The Silver Fox!

FYI, I'm the one on the right.

What, were you expecting a recent one?

Next Time, Fellow Babies... The start of a very special week-long feature, marking an anniversary of sorts. It'll post on Thursday, February 11th! Be there or be... Well, you know.


  1. No, you didn't leave that comment on my blog, but I totally agree with the sentiment. I was listening to Janis right from the first album and was in total awe of her voice. And I certainly never considered her ugly; I actually thought she was kinda cute.

  2. i loved janis from the second i heard her - a woman in rock, rocked my teenage world - she was still alive. her death was a blow on so many levels

    i can't believe it will be 40 years, shit i'm getting old.

    a couple years ago a touring musical called 'love janis' came through cleveland - it was based on letters that she wrote home ....and included many of her songs. was GREAT. the woman who played janis, though no janis did a pretty convincing channeling of her. if you ever see it coming...go.

    oh, you were a cutie!!

  3. @Roy: Me, too. When people made cracks about her looks, I'd always defend her.

    As for my Janis/Hendrix comment, I think it was on the Theme Thursday with "Summer" as the theme. Someone had put up a YouTube vid of Big Brother and the Holding Company's "Summertime," and I responded to that incredible version of one of my favorite songs (by several different artists) with a statement I thought was rather eloquent.

  4. @Mouse: You're getting old? That picture you thought was so cute -- thanks, btw, yer makin' me blush -- is almost fifty years old!

  5. Loved Janis. Loved her voice and her craziness. I think I actually remember that RS cover. Everyone read RS back then and for many yrs to come. As a Southern California girl, I made a few trips to the Bay Area with friends to see groups perform. Unfortunately, I never saw Janis. I'm sure it would have been unforgettable. She did have a sad life and film of her does reveal a seeming insecurity. Her biographers say she was mercilessly teased in her home town of Port Arthur. Three biggies died the same year, Janis, Hendrix & Jim Morrison. R&R lost alot in 1970.

  6. Not long after those three, we lost Duane Allman, too. I'm glad I was a bit too young to really feel those deaths then, as I would have once I became an adult.

  7. Your cute boy pic reminds me of that adorable little French guy in "Charade".

    I had some glasses just like Janis is wearing in that pic, btw.

  8. Yep. That's you alright! I'd recognize those beady little eyes anywhere! ;)

  9. Isn't that newere profile pic you though? :)

  10. No one before or since could sing like Janis! Her loss was a tragedy.

    And no one's getting old around here except me!

  11. Janis could really wail...gawrch!

    we oughta have a kid picture TT one of these weeks, along with an ancient memory...who wants to look at a picture of an old geezer!

  12. Janis was a passionate singer and epitomized the times back then.
    Darling picture of you and the Claus.

  13. Love the photo of you and Santa man. I was a little girl when Janis and Jimi passed, but I remember hearing her voice on the car radio and wondering about the woman behind it...Thanks for sharing the photos of her.

  14. yep....loved Janis' voice.

    Look at you on Santa's knee. Now YOU have the silver beard! ;) And we are much closer in age than I thought. Why did I think you were older? Not sure.

  15. You picked the theme for tomorrow and it's a special day? Wow! Looking forward to it.

  16. I am happy to hear someone stand up for Janis when it came to her looks. Did she have some bad days caught on film? Hell yeah she did. But if I lived in the eye of a camera, I am sure I would have some less than attractive pictures too. She wasn't brushed up, she wasn't touched up, she didn't have fake tits or false eyelashes...She was REAL! From her voice to her tat to her whiskey binges, she was a real woman. And that is why I love her. :)


I strongly urge you to sign up for follow-up comments, because I (usually) reply to your comment! Comments left for me more than two weeks after a post is published will not appear until I approve them, but they will be answered eventually!


Related Posts with Thumbnails