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21 Things You Didn’t Know About Janis Joplin

The Queen of Rock and Roll would have been 70 today. Here are a few things you may not have known about the soul songstress.

1. After graduating from high school she spent one semester at Lamar State College of Technology in her homestate of Texas.

She would later transfer to University of Texas at Austin, but not complete her studies.

2. She was a good student.

A blue book exam on social problems during her time in college.

3. Her first recorded song was entitled “What Good Can Drinkin’ Do.”

20 year old Janis recorded this song at a friend’s house while attending University of Texas as an art student.

4. You could have seen her at Woodstock for less than $20.

5. She was never one of the popular kids.

She was bullied and isolated by her peers growing up in the small town of Port Arthur, Texas. In response she rebelled by dying her hair and driving to out to local blues bars.

6. She was a third-degree black belt in Kenpo Karate.

Can you picture her doing this?

7. She was arrested for indecent and vulgar language towards police officers in 1969 while performing in Tampa, Florida.

She was permitted to finish her performance before being arrested and the charges were later dropped as the judge’s ruling stated she was simply exercising her freedom of speech.

8. She only had one hit single during her career.

“Me and Bobby Mcgee” reached number one on the charts in 1971, the year after her death. It was the second posthumous single in the U.S. after Otis Redding’s “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay”.

9. She owned a crazy Porsche convertible.

The 1965 Porsche Cabriolet resides at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

10. In a cruel joke she was voted “Ugliest Man On Campus” by the fraternities at Texas University.

She constantly struggled with low self esteem after this and other incidents.

11. One of her last recordings was a birthday song for John Lennon.

12. She didn’t think music should be about making money.

From an interview on the Dick Cavett show in 1969.

13. She smashed a bottle of Southern Comfort over Jim Morrison’s head.

Central Press / Getty Images

“Well, she picked up a bottle of Southern Comfort she had, reached out of the car, and wailed him on the head with it. He was out cold. The next day, I saw Jim in rehearsal and he said to me, ‘What a great woman! She’s terrific!”

- “Break On Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison” by James Riordan

14. She was uncomfortable being called a star.

In an interview with Dick Cavett she corrected him because the word bothered her so much.

15. She personally drew out the design for her wrist tattoo of a florentine bracelet.

16. She paid for the tombstone of her idol, blues singer Bessie Smith.

After being killed in an automobile accident the singer was buried in an unmarked grave, which did not sit well with Janis.

17. She performed two sets at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 due to the fact the first set was not taped.

18. She performed with several different bands over her short career.

She began with with Big Brother And The Holding Company (1966-1968). She soon became the breakout star of the band and left for a solo career.

The Kosmic Blues Band featured a full horn section, but critics and fans were not pleased with the new sound.

The Full Tilt Boogie Band was her last group, and most well received by fans and critics.

19. Her ashes were scattered out over the Pacific Ocean.

Tucker Ransom / Getty Images

20. Her friends called her “pearl” which was also the title of her last album.

Stroud / Getty Images

21. In her last will and testament she left over $1,500 to her friends for a big party.

She made these changes to her will just two days before her death. The tickets were printed with, “The drinks are on pearl.”

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