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Janis Joplin, 'Me and Bobby McGee (Demo Version)' Song Premiere and Q&A With Janis' Sister on Her Legacy and the 27 Club
- Posted on Apr 11th 2012 11:30AM by Dan Reilly
Barry Feinstein Photography
Pearl originally came out three months after Janis died. What do you remember about listening to it for the first time? Did it help you heal or grieve?
I remember the album came out then, but I was so in shock by losing her that I don't recall many other details. I recall being focused on the cover photo, a shot that brought out her a sense of joy and peace, and that helped me a lot. Also, I was enchanted by the song "Mercedes Benz" because it felt just like being with her, that special sense of humor.
Listen to the Demo Version of "Me and Bobby McGee"
Do you have a favorite recording from these unreleased sessions?
I identify with "Me and Bobby McGee," partly because the song mentions Baton Rouge, which is not too far from our hometown. I know the song isn't about her, but I can recall her in similar predicaments! The solo acoustic version is as close as it gets to being with her and I treasure being able to hear it.
Out of curiosity, is there any song of Janis' that you love more than the rest?
I find I have a difficult time judging one song over another because what always happens for me is that when I turn the music on, my foot starts tapping and pretty soon I'm humming along and then I get carried away by the energy and emotion she bring to the song and I'm just hooked into it. So I guess I love the one I'm listening to.
What is like to hear these new recordings? Are there any particular memories it brings back for you?
I am always excited to see the new material that Legacy Recordings finds in the vault. The behind-the-scenes additions to The Pearl Sessions give me more of the woman having fun in the studio, more of a sense of her personality. And it's always nice to hear some nuances in the way she performs her songs.
Many of our readers will know Janis from what they've read or seen on TV. What aspects of her personality do you wish more people knew about?
Growing up with Janis was about books and art and humor. Those things are a smaller part of her stage presence though they were still an important part of who she was. If you look at the Dick Cavett interviews you will see the person I remember, a quick wit and engaging stories. I think what's most important about Janis is what each individual sees in her. It is wonderful that she can talk to different people in different ways.
Does seeing someone like Amy Winehouse or Whitney Houston bring back memories of Janis' death for you? It seemed they were compared to Janis a lot, especially with Amy also being 27 when she passed.
I'm sad to hear these stories. People seem to like creating a 27 club but I seem them as individual tragedies, at any age. All of these people brought so much joy to so many -- that's the connection I make. The incredible talent and work they produced is the real story, their musical legacies.
If Janis were alive today, what do you think she would be doing? Do you think she would have settled down and had a family? Evolved into a different kind of artist?
If Janis were alive in 2012, she would have lived an additional 42 years! I'll bet she would be different! Her music evolved a tremendous amount over the four years she was in the public eye. I would love to hear what she'd be singing now. Mostly, I figure, if she were with us now, she'd be telling great stories and laughing a lot.