Song of the Day: “Piece of my Heart” by Big Brother & the Holding Company

We all have various ways we can divide our lives into segments. Befores and afters. Well, for me, one of those chronological divisors is before and after hearing Janis Joplin singing a rock song.

Her vocal chords are a sledgehammer applied directly to my heart . A blunt force weapon to render listeners into little piles of pulp. While her mythos is tied up in the hippie/druggie movements of the late ’60s, and, especially, given her early death, which makes it easy to overrate or pigeon-hole her. But I truly see her as a timeless and unique talent.

Joplin’s signature track is “Me and Bobby McGee,” but I prefer her in a looser and heavier context. She performed as lead vocalist for Big Brother & the Holding Company. In “Shape of My Heart,” she elevates a fun little ditty into something truly transcendent.

What I wouldn’t give for a few more dozen recordings of her at her peak… Rest in peace, Janis. I know you’re rocking some really killer clubs in the afterlife.

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Dan S.

Dan is the editor of Earn This. He co-founded the site in 2009.

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