5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Janis Joplin

On January 19, 1943, rock, blues, and soul singer Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas. After releasing just three albums, Joplin died of a heroin overdose in 1970, becoming part of rock and roll's infamous "27 Club." Here are 5 facts you didn't know about Janis Joplin...

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She Bought A Tombstone For Bessie Smith Joplin’s ultimate idol and her greatest influence was Bessie Smith, aka the “Empress of the Blues” — she even told friends that she believed she was Smith’s reincarnation. Joplin was furious when she found out that Smith was buried in an unmarked grave in Pennsylvania following her death in a car accident at the age of 43. She and Juanita Green, the daughter of one of Smith’s employees, paid for a tombstone for Smith, with the epitaph, “The Greatest Blues Singer in the World Will Never Stop Singing.”

She Was Voted "Ugliest Man on Campus" Janis Joplin attended the University of Texas at the Austin campus. She had been the object of bullying while growing up, which almost undoubtedly affected her self-esteem. Unfortunately, the bullying continued in college. In 1963, Joplin was cruelly voted “The Ugliest Man on Campus” at the University of Texas, Austin, where she was studying art. This, together with her desire to become a musician, prompted her to drop out of school and take off to San Francisco. 

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She Once Broke A Bottle Over Jim Morrison’s Head Joplin and musician Jim Morrison had a love of drinking in common, but Joplin was turned off by Morrison’s obnoxious behavior. At a party held by producer Paul Rothchild, Joplin rejected Morrison’s advances, but he persisted — until Joplin hit him over the head with a bottle of Southern Comfort. Morrison seemed to not take it personally because the following day he asked Paul Rothchild, the record producer, for Joplin's number so that he could call her. She was not interested, and it was reported that Morrison was heartbroken by the rejection.

She Was Great Advertising for Southern Comfort Joplin loved to drink, and her alcohol of choice was always Southern Comfort whiskey. In recognition of this endorsement, because it boosted the company’s sales, the distillery gave her a fur coat in appreciation. The coat probably went well with her Porsche, which was painted in psychedelic colors with a bright mural of birds, butterflies, floating eyes, landscapes, mushrooms and skull-like faces.  In 2015, the Porsche Joplin bought in 1964 broke records when it sold at auction for $1.76 million. It was the highest price ever paid for any Porsche 356 at auction.

She Was One Of The First Members Of The "27 Club" Three weeks before Joplin’s death at the age of 27, another 27-year-old musician, Jimi Hendrix, died from an overdose. Since then, many other celebrities have died at the same age, leading to the collective name, “The 27 Club.” In 1971, Jim Morrison died, age 27, in his French apartment. Other members of the morbid club include Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, British singer Amy Winehouse and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.