Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin “is not just a star but the inamorata, the ‘shaman mama’ of the hip generation” (Lydon,1969).

Rock music in the 1960s had come to epitomize the hippie revolution. (Rielly, 172) Janis Joplin was one of, if not the most talented female rock and roll singer of the 1960s. As well, she was an immensely prominent and influential figure of the hippie movement. When Joplin was preforming, she often engaged in outrageous antics including running, jumping, screaming, laughing and of course drinking whiskey (Rielly, 167). Pretty much, Joplin did whatever she pleased, whether she was alone, or on stage on front of thousands of people.

1969, USA --- Janis Joplin in the Performer's Area at Woodstock --- Image by © Elliott Landy/Corbis

1969, USA — Janis Joplin in the Performer’s Area at Woodstock — Image by © Elliott Landy/Corbis

In an interview with The New York Times, in February of 1969, Joplin discussed her life, and why she lives it without a care for what others think. In 1969, Joplin was “riding the wave of music out of the whole hip movement.” Joplin attributed her major success in music and her huge following to her unwavering confidence in herself. In Joplin’s eyes, everyone needs to be themselves fully, and not someone else. She wanted to show her generation that “they can be themselves and win” just like she did. The things Joplin said, the way she dressed, the way she danced and the things she did on stage all demonstrated how Joplin would do whatever felt right for her at the moment. When asked what she is doing with her life Joplin responded “Getting stoned, staying happy and having a good time” (Lyndon, 1969).

As demonstrated in the interview, Joplin’s values, morals and attitudes are parallel to those of the hippies in the 1960s. The hippies along with Joplin wanted most to just be happy, smoke weed and live in the moment. The message Joplin wanted to send to her fans was a strong held belief of the hippies. Joplin and the hippie believed everyone shouldjanis-joplin grr
accept themselves and be completely comfortable with themselves. As well, everyone should do whatever feel right for them at that time, despite what society thinks and says.

After a long line of drug overdoses, Joplin died at the young age of 27 from an overdose on heroine (Rielly, 168).The early death of Joplin, along with musician Jimmy Hendrix came to symbolize “the promises, confusions and excesses” of the 1960s (Rielly, 167).





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