3 things you never knew about Janis Joplin

Janis JoplinEven though she died 45 years ago, Janis Joplin still has one of the most recognizable voices in rock. Dubbed “The Queen of Psychedelic Soul,” she sang hard and played hard. Her lifestyle eventually caught up with her when she died of a drug overdose at 27. Here are three things you might not have know about Janis:

1. Ruthlessly bullied. Janis struggled with acne and a weight problem in high school. Her acne was so severe, she later underwent dermabrasion to improve her skin. Her appearance drew her to the “outcasts,” and led to lots of bullying.

Other kids at high school would routinely taunt her and call her names like “pig”, “freak”, “nigger lover” or “creep”.

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The bullying continued in college where frat boys dubbed her the “Ugliest Man on Campus.”

2. Brief engagements. Joplin was briefly engaged to Peter de Blanc, a well-educated New Yorker, who eventually worked at IBM. De Blanc knew Joplin during her first stint in San Francisco, and the two corresponded by mail when Joplin moved back to Texas to get off drugs. The two became engaged in the fall of 1965, and Joplin began planning her wedding with her mother. Shortly thereafter, de Blanc broke off the engagement. Five years later, Joplin got engaged to Seth Morgan, a 21-year-old UC Berkeley student, cocaine dealer and novelist.

3. Dispensing wisdom. In many ways, Joplin was a tragic mess, but she also inspired an entire generation of women to stand up for themselves. She inspired everyone to refuse to settle for the status quo. It’s apparent in her last interview four days before she died:

You are what you settle for. Do you know what I mean? You’re only as much as you settle for. If they settle for being somebody’s dishwasher that’s their own fucking problem. If you don’t settle for that and you keep fighting it, you know, you’ll end up anything you want to be. How can they attack me? I’m just doing what I wanted to and what feels right and not settling for bullshit and it worked. How can they be mad at that?

8 comments to “3 things you never knew about Janis Joplin”
  1. Saw Janis perform at Family Dog in Denver when I was 15. She was amazing, pouring sweat and soul. Will treasure that memory as she was gone next day.

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