Behind the Poster: Janis Joplin Pearl 50th Anniversary
Janis Joplin knew what she wanted at a very young age, and did it so well that she pioneered a whole genre of music. She was a wild spirit with her raw and gritty vocals, sporting an infectious energy onstage that brought the mood up a notch.
In December 1968, the Texas-born Joplin left the San Francisco-based Big Brother after two psychedelic blues albums and a few months after Cheap Thrills hit No. 1. Less than a year later, she released her solo debut, I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!
Released 50 years ago, Pearl was Joplin’s unintended swan song, being the second solo album of her career. Sessions for the album began in Los Angeles in early September 1970, with Doors producer Paul Rothchild behind the boards. Within a month, they had almost a dozen songs recorded, all approved by Joplin. On Oct. 1, she laid down an a cappella take of "Mercedes Benz," a song she co-wrote. It would be the last number she ever recorded. Three days later she was dead at the age of 27.
A staple of classic rock everywhere, Pearl embraced the blues and country influences quite well, given Joplin’s reputation as a musician in full control of her instrument. The album captures Joplin in her most dynamic studio performance, each note complementing her liberated vocal power to full extent, spreading through the full extent of her emotional spectrum.
In creating this poster celebrating 50 years of Pearl, I wanted to include as many references as possible to the album and Janis' life . From the song Move Over, "love dangling like a carrot" on her rearview mirror; from Half Moon, night sky, seven stars; and of course the Mercedes Benz. There are even references from the artwork that is on her Porsche. Janis left way too soon, but she gave us all such wonderful music that lasts forever. - Zeb Love