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.
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.
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.
July 12, 1970 ~ Janis Joplin is playing the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and a local band by the name of Fritz opens for her. Janis made an impression on the lead singer who watches in awe as Janis works the audience through her set. Stevie Nicks credits Pearl later for showing her how to connect with an audience …
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.
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.
April 7, 1968 … just a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, B.B. King, Richie Havens and Buddy Guy take the stage for a jam session in tribute to MLK. Janis Joplin with Big Brother and The Holding Company were there, too.