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Janis Joplin

American singer and songwriter
Joplin photographed by Jim Marshall in 1969, one year before her death

Janis Lyn Joplin (19 January 19434 October 1970) was an American singer and songwriter.


Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
  • Tomorrow never happens. It's all the same fucking day, man.
    • "Ball and Chain" Festival Express live 1970 (1967)
    • Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
    • Mercedes Benz (1970)
  • Music’s for grooving man, and music’s not for puttin’ yourself through bad changes, y’know? I mean, you don’t have to go take anybody’s shit, man, just to like music, y’know what I mean? You don’t. So... so if you’re getting’ more shit than you deserve, you know what to do about it man. Y’know, it’s just music. Music’s... music's s’posed to be different than that.
    • Spoken on the live recording of "Piece Of My Heart" on "Cheap Thrills" (1968)
  • Fourteen heart attacks and he had to die in my week. In MY week.
    • On being shunted off the front page of Newsweek magazine by the late ex-President Dwight D. Eisenhower following his death; New Musical Express interview, (12 April 1969); cited in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
  • Work me, lord. Please don't you leave me. I feel so useless down here with no one to love. Though I looked everywhere, and I can't find me anybody to love, to feel my care...So, work me lord, oh, use me lord. Can I show you how hard it is trying to live when you're all alone? Everyday I keep trying to move forward but something is driving me, oh, back. Something's trying to hold on to me, to my way of life. So, oh, don't you forget me down here lord, no no no no no, don't you forget me, lord. Well I don't think I'm any very special kind of person down here, I know better. But I don't think you're gonna find anybody, not anybody who can say that they tried like I tried. The worst that you can say all about me is that I'm never satisfied...
    • "Work me, Lord", live at Woodstock (1969)

One Good Man (1969)Edit

  • Honey, I love to go to parties,
    And I like to have a good time,
    But if it gets too pale after a while
    Honey and I start looking to find
    One good man.
  • One good man,
    Oh ain’t much, honey ain’t much,
    It’s only everything...
  • An’ I don’t want much outa life,
    I never wanted a mansion in the south.
    I just-a want to find someone sincere
    Who’d treat me like he talks,
    One good man.


  • Well, I’m gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough.
    I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it,
    Take another little piece of my heart now, baby!
    • "Piece of My Heart" (1968) Though this song became well known as one of her greatest hits, it was actually written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns
  • You know you got it if it makes you feel good.
    • "Piece of My Heart" (1968) written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns
  • Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,
    Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free...

    And feeling good was easy, lord, when he sang the blues.
    You know feeling good was good enough for me,
    Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.

Quotes about JoplinEdit

  • Janis knew more than I did about "how it was", but she lacked enough armor for the inevitable hassles. She was open and spontaneous enough to get her heart trampled with a regularity that took me thirty years to experience or understand. On the various occasions when we were together, she seemed to be holding in something she thought I might not want to hear, like older people do when they hear kids they love saying with absolute youthful confidence, "Oh, that'll never happen to me." Sometimes you know you can't tell them how it is, they have to find out for themselves. Janis felt like an old soul, a wisecracking grandmother whom everybody loved to visit. When I was with her, I often felt like a part of her distant family, a young upstart relative who was still too full of her own sophistry to hear wisdom.
    Did we compliment each other? Yes, but not often enough.
    • Grace Slick, in Somebody to Love? : A Rock-and-Roll Memoir (1998) by Grace Slick and Andrea Cagan
  • Wow, that's heavy.
    • "Mama" Cass Elliot, caught on camera mouthing this at the Monterey Pop Festival.

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