On This Day in 1970: Janis Joplin Dies at 27

by Keeli Parkey
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Today (Oct. 4, 2021) marks a significant day in the history of rock and roll. It was on this day 51 years ago that the icon that was Janis Joplin passed away.

Given the impact she made on the genre by the time of her unexpected death, it’s almost hard to believe that she was only 27 years old when she passed away. That’s right, the one-time Big Brother and the Holding Company lead singer wasn’t even 30 years old at the time of her death.

Joplin’s death came as a shock when it occurred in 1970 from a reported drug overdose. According to Rolling Stone, just hours before her death the Texas native took part in the very last recording session of her young life. One of the songs she recorded that day was her famous song, “A Woman Left Lonely.”

Following the recording session, Janis Joplin decided she wanted to use heroin while staying at a hotel. It was around 1 a.m. on Oct. 4, 1970, that she used her tools to inject the famous drug into her left arm. After using, she decided to go down to the hotel lobby to buy cigarettes from a machine located there. She purchased a pack of cigarettes, then headed back to her hotel room.

She reportedly arrived at her room door, opened it, and went inside. Once inside, she decided to remove her clothing and put her just purchased pack of cigarettes on the nightstand. It was at this moment that Janis Joplin fell. It is said that she hit her face on the table as she fell. She landed on the floor.

It was the next day that the famous rock star and “Piece of My Heart” singer was found dead inside that Hollywood, California, hotel.

Janis Joplin Was Born in Texas and She Gave Fans Such Hits as ‘Me and Bobby McGee,’ ‘Mercedes Benz’ and ‘Summertime’

Had she survived to this day, Janis Joplin would now be 78 years old. She was born on Jan. 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas.

During her less than 30 years on this earth, Joplin left behind a legacy that was unlike many others. She left many popular tracks behind during her years as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company. These included “Down on Me,” “Bye Bye Baby,” and “Call On Me.”

During her solo career, her fame skyrocketed and she gave fans even more memorable hits. These included “Mercedes Benz,” “Cry Baby,” “Try,” and, of course, “Me and Bobby McGee” – and more.

There are many songs you could listen to in memory of Janis Joplin. Just one of these is “Me and Bobby McGee.” You can check out her version of the song, which was written by Kris Kristofferson, below.

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