Janis Joplin would have turned 70 years old this past weekend had she lived to become a feisty, free-spirited, uncompromising old woman artist.
Instead she only lived to be a feisty, free-spirited, uncompromising young woman artist, parting with the world way too soon at age 27, joining that well-known club, but leaving us with her soulful, soul-baring, often anguished, and always deeply emotive vocal masterpieces.
She was born January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas.
It's particularly notable that I write these words as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day today, because Janis, breaking with local social traditions during the tense days of racial integration, stood up for the rights of African Americans whose segregated status in her hometown seared her youthful ideals.
There are two comments under the youtube video clip I posted here of Janis singing her guts out that really say it all:
"No playback, no flashy effects, no plastic surgery, no bullshit. THIS is the real deal, kids."
"No make-up, yet still soulful and beautiful.........we need more of this....."
Indeed we do.