Music News

Janis Joplin remembered

10/4/2013

It was 43 years ago today (October 4th, 1970) that Janis Joplin was found dead. After a long night of partying, Joplin's body was discovered in her room at the Landmark Hotel in Hollywood with fresh needle marks in her arm, and her death was ruled an accidental overdose. Joplin was 27-years-old, and at the time of her death was working on what became her final album, Pearl.

Last fall it was announced that actress Amy Adams has signed on to portray Joplin in the upcoming biopic, Get It While You Can. Adams, a three-time Academy Award nominee, joins a long list of actors around Hollywood who either are, or have been, attached to different Joplin films in varying stages of pre-production -- including The Gospel According To Janis, which had Zooey Deschanel attached to it and a Sean Durkin-directed feature starring Nina Arianda. No start date has been announced for the biopic.

Fans have often wondered since her 1970 death what Joplin would have gone on to do, and her old friend and Big Brother & The Holding Co. bandmate Sam Andrew says that a very modest Joplin might have gone away from rock n' roll: "I think she would have gone through a couple of jazz standard albums, maybe -- I, I hope she would have, 'cause I loved the way she did 'Little Girl Blue' and 'Summertime,' and to hear a couple of albums of that kind of material would have been truly great. But mainly, I think she'd just be really tickled -- (does Joplin impression) 'They're still thinking about me? How can they be thinking about me? (laughs).'" ")

Andrews recalls that Joplin was a lot deeper than people might have gotten from her public image: "She was, like, real fast and real funny, and she had these colorful Texan expressions, and then behind there, there was an IQ maybe of 165 or something. She was just as bright as could be and interested in everything. And then, on top of that, she was punctual, which doesn't sound like an important thing when you're talking about a diva, but in day-to-day life it becomes really important. So I just loved Janis a lot."

In 2008, in commemoration with Joplin's 65th birthday (January 19th), a historic marker was placed by one of her childhood homes in Port Arthur, Texas.

Actress Zooey Deschanel -- who at one point was on board to portray Joplin -- told us her research into the role has given her a deeper understanding of the legendary, yet ill-fated singer: "She's more recognized for her dysfunction than she is for, y'know, what she brought to the world of music and women in general. She was a strong woman in a time when the views of women were changing and I think she had a lot to do with that. She was a really smart person but because she had a lot of problems, that's what people focus on. That, to me, is her tragedy."


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