Janis ~ Mercedes Benz

August 8, 1970 ~ Enjoying some libations at a nearby bar before her concert at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, Pearl writes the song “Mercedes Benz,” which she sings that night. The song has grown in lore over the years — Bobby Womack says he inspired Janis after a ride in his Mercedes-Benz 600. Others say the lyrics were born from the San Francisco beat poet Michael McClure, “Come on, God, and buy me a Mercedes Benz.”

The song was recorded for all of us to hear on October 1, 1970 and appeared on Pearl released in ’71. It was the last track to be laid down before her death on October 4, 1970.

Janis and Bessie … 

Oddly enough, Pearl was nervous singing in public back in her days in Austin. She’d sing Bessie Smith blues songs. Bessie had been killed in a car accident back in the 30′s and her grave had remained unmarked for over 30 years. A Philadelphia newspaper started a fundraising campaign to fix that injustice and on August 8, 1970, Janis paid what remained due for Bessie Smith’s headstone.

 

 

Festival for Peace turns 50

August 6, 1970 ~ Festival for Peace, Shea Stadium. The concert hoped to raise funds for anti-war candidates on the 25 anniversary of the atom bomb drop on Hiroshima. It was the first time that the world’s biggest rock, jazz, blues and folk performers came together and donated their performances to aid a specific social/political agenda.  

Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, The James Gang, Miles Davis, Johnny Winter and dozens of other artists and bands.

2nd Atlanta International Pop Festival …

… turns 50. July 3 – 5, 1970.

The 3-day rock festival was held in a soybean field next to the Middle George Raceway in Byron. Governor Lester Maddox didn’t like hippies and tried mightily to stop the event. He couldn’t but he did get legislation passed that made it almost impossible to do outdoor concerts. Thus, a 3rd Atlanta International Pop Festival never happened.

The Empress of The Blues

Bessie Smith ~ b. April 15, 1894

Janis Joplin was nervous singing in public back in her early days in Austin. To compensate, she’d sing Bessie Smith blues songs. 

Bessie had been killed in a car accident back in the 30′s and her grave had remained unmarked for over 30 years. A Philadelphia newspaper started a fundraising campaign to fix that injustice and on August 8, 1970, Janis paid what remained due for Bessie Smith’s headstone.