If there was one female musician who truly paved the way for other female musicians it is definitely Janis Joplin. Joplin accomplished and did what no other woman before her had ever done in the music industry. She sang the way she wanted, she lived the way she wanted and in doing what she wanted she broke down so many walls and created so many more opportunities for other female artists. Joplin’s influence on music is explained in the excellent documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue.
Janis Joplin grew up in Texas. She was never like any of the southern girls around her growing up. She was completely different. Joplin realized she could sing when she was seventeen and started out as a folk singer but no one was taking her seriously or liked her voice for the genre. She headed out to California where she lived until she was sent home to try to kick her initial addiction to heroin. Sometime later Joplin returned to California and was given the spot as the lead singer for a band called Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Big Brother and the Holding Company achieved success under Joplin’s singing and the band’s music. Their hits include “Summertime” and “Piece of My Heart.” In the late 1960s Joplin left the band and started another band. That band did not work out so well. When that venture did turn out so well Joplin struck out on her own. She finally found a producer that worked with her voice and knew what types of songs and music would suit her voice. Joplin recorded her last album Pearl before she died in October 1970 of a heroin overdose in her hotel room at the age of twenty-seven. Pearl was released three months after Joplin died. The album was a success and her biggest hit, “Me and Bobby McGee” came from that album.
I am sure most of you know who Janis Joplin is or have heard of her music. For a long time, I was not too sure if I liked Joplin or not. Her voice I found to be alright and her look kind of bothered me (she always looked like a mess). I also had no respect for her because she was addicted to drugs. Fortunately, my entire attitude towards Joplin (and people who are addicted to drugs) have changed. They changed before I even watched Little Blue Girl. My tastes in music has grown. I listen to basically everything as long as I think it sounds good (I have over 10,000 songs on my iTunes). I became curious about Janis Joplin so I took a listen to her songs and downloaded a greatest hits album. After listening to that album I could hear why she is such a legend and after watching the documentary I could see why she is such a legend.
Joplin was so ahead of her time in terms of what a female musician could do vocally and what they looked like. She opened the doors for women in Blues and Rock music. There was not a woman like her in the music world before she came along and there really has not been since. Her influence on female artists can be seen and heard in music even today. Joplin’s spirit is in those artists and her feelings and emotions she put into songs can also be seen in certain female artists.
Janis: Little Girl Blue is one of the best music documentaries I have watched. I am always enamored by musicians and singers because, as I said, I love music so much. Even though I cannot sing for my life and I can play basic drums, I am so influenced by singers and musicians. I love finding singers to listen to no matter what era or decade they are from. Janis Joplin is not one of my all-time favorite singers but I enjoy listening to her music because of the emotion she put into her voice. You can feel the emotions and feelings she was feeling singing all her songs. The documentary explains that all of her emotions and feelings she put into her music and her performances are why she turned to drugs because the come down from performing for her was too much for her to cope with.
Janis Joplin achieved so much and made an incredible impact music in just a short time. Janis: Little Girl Blue is a sensitive, thoughtful look into this amazing, game changing artist. I really hope you can watch Little Girl Blue. It was a very good, well made documentary. I also hope that if you have never really taken a listen to Janis Joplin and you do watch this documentary you go and listen to her music. I know after watching Little Girl Blue I have a bigger appreciation for Joplin, her legacy, and her music.