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Fifty-Year Anniversary of the Death of Janis Joplin

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Janis Joplin died of a drug overdose fifty years ago today on October 4, 1970.

Today is the Catholic feast day of St. Francis of Assisi who became the patron saint of Santa Fe in 1717. It’s also the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Janis Joplin. Some people might wonder what St. Francis and Janis Joplin have in common. For me, it’s that I’m an animal lover and St. Francis is the patron saint of animals. I’m also a Baby Boomer, so Janis Joplin was an icon for me when I was growing.

First Female Rock Star

Janis Joplin was the first woman to reach stardom in the rock music industry. Others have followed but there wasn’t anyone like Janis. We were all familiar with rebels from that era but none of them were women. Janis Joplin surprised us all with her outrageous behavior. This was during a time when many young women wished they had the courage to behave the way she did. I was one of them, I wanted to be like her. Janis Joplin was my idol.

No Fiesta Queen For Me

My poor mother wanted me to run for fiesta queen. But back in the late 1960 and early 1970s I wanted to be Janis Joplin. It broke my mother’s heart but I didn’t care. I paraded around Santa Fe in an Army jacket with long hair trying my best to look like Janis. Although I hated the taste of Southern Comfort, I drank it anyway because I had heard that was her drink of choice. Even today, “Down on Me” is at the top of my I-Phone playlist.

Sex, Drugs & Rockin’ Roll

Jimmy Hendriks died of a drug overdose on September 18, 1970.

During that era most of the Rock musicians were high on drugs. Following the Viet Nam war drugs seemed to be everywhere. And many of the well known entertainers from that time experienced drug related deaths. Jimmy Hendriks, who also died fifty years ago, was one of them. He died of an overdose on  September 18, 1970. When word got to Janice Joplin about his untimely death she reportedly said. “There but for the grace of God go I.” Three weeks later on October 4, 1970 Joplin was dead of an overdose.