rock history janis joplin pearl

Janis Joplin’s Posthumous Album Pearl Hits #1


by Brian M. Reiser
Joe Bonamassa Official Blog / Tribut Apparel


There are few tragedies in the history of rock and roll greater than the fact that Janis Joplin did not live to see her splendid, genius work Pearl hit #1 on the Billboard Charts. Pearl was the second and, unfortunately, final solo studio album released by Joplin. She recorded her masterpiece from September 5th through October 4th in 1970. The album would be released on January 11, 1971. But Joplin had already passed away at the young age of 27 on October 4th, 1970, which ended the recording process of the album.

Clocking in at a relatively short thirty-four minutes and ten seconds, Pearl was the only album that Janis Joplin recorded with her Full Tilt Boogie Band. It plumbed the depth of not just rock but also the blues, soul, R&B, and funk music. It’s a stunning achievement, filled with Joplin classic after classic song including “Move Over”, “Cry Baby”, “Me & Bobby McGee”, and “Mercedes Benz”. It held the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for a full 9 weeks and ultimately went quadruple platinum. And, if you ask me for my own humble opinion, it has to be in the 20 or so most important – and best – classic rock records in history. May you still be resting in peace, Janis. The world was better for you.

Here’s what else happened this week in rock history:


Born This Week in Rock History:

4/1/1945 – John Barbata (Drums, Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship)

4/2/1939 – Marvin Gaye (R&B and Soul Singer-Songwriter)

4/2/1952 – Leon Wilkerson (bass, Lynyrd Skynyrd)

4/3/1943 – Richard Manuel (Lead Vocals & Piano, The Band)

4/4/1913 – Muddy Waters (Blues Singer-Songwriter & Guitarist)

4/4/1932 – Clive Davis (Record Mogul, Arista Records)

4/4/1948 – Berry Oakley (Bass, The Allman Brothers Band)

4/4/1948 – Pick Withers (Drums, Dire Straits)

4/4/1952 – Gary Moore (Guitar, Thin Lizzy & Skid Row)

4/6/1917 – Walter Horton (Blues Harmonica Player)

4/7/1915 – Billie Holiday (Jazz Vocalist)

4/7/1938 – Spencer Dryden (Drums, Jefferson Airplane, New Riders of the Purple Sage)

4/7/1943 – Mick Abrahams (Guitar, Jethro Tull)

4/7/1946 – Bill Kreutzmann (Drums, Grateful Dead)


Died This Week in Rock History:

4/1/1917 – Scott Joplin (Ragtime Pianist & Composer)

4/1/1984 – Marvin Gaye (R&B and Soul Singer-Songwriter)

4/3/1990 – Sarah Vaughan (Jazz Vocalist)

4/5/1981 – Bob “The Bear” Hite (Lead Vocals, Canned Heat)

4/5/1994 – Kurt Cobain (Lead Vocals & Guitar, Nirvana)

4/5/1998 – Cozy Powell (Drums, The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Black Sabbath)


Music Recordings, Releases and Top of the Charts:

4/1/1966 – David Bowie releases the flop “Do Anything You Say”

4/1/2008 – The Rolling Stones release the Shine A Light soundtrack

4/2/1971 – Janis Joplin’s Pearl hits #1

4/2/1977 – Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours hits #1 and spends 31 non-consecutive weeks there

4/2/1956 – Johnny Cash records “I Walk the Line”

4/3/1967 – The Beatles record one of our favorite album tracks, “Within You Without You”

4/3/2001 – Bruce Springsteen releases Live In New York City

4/4/1964 – The Beatles hold the top five spots on the Billboard singles chart:

1. Can’t Buy Me Love
2. Twist and Shout
3. She Loves You
4. I Want To Hold Your Hand
5. Please Please Me.

What’s more, the kind of popular band had nine other singles scattered around the Hot 100. Earlier in the month, The Beatles had had a similar showing on the Canadian and Australian charts. Beatlemania in full effect!

4/4/1970 – Deja Vu, the first Crosby, Stills, and Nash album to include a certain Mr. Neil Young, tops the Billboard charts.

4/6/1966 – The Beatles record “Tomorrow Never Knows”

4/6/1973 – David bowie releases the single “Drive-In Saturday”

4/6/1974 – Piano Man Billy Joel scores his first top 40 hit with the song, well, “Piano Man”


This Week in Rock History:

On April 1, 1970, John Lennon & Yoko Ono played an April Fool’s joke announcing to the press that they would both be undergoing sex-change operations.

On April 2, 1990, Nirvana began working on demo versions of some early tunes including “Dive”, “Pay to Play”, and “Sappy”. They also sketched out some songs that would ultimately end up on their smash blockbuster album Nevermind including “In Bloom”, “Lithium”, and “Polly”. The demos were produced by Butch Vig, who also produced the actual Nevermind album.

On April 3, 2007, Keith Richards denied ever having snorted his own father’s ashes, despite claiming that he did indeed do so on a prior occasion. 


On April 4, 1968, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Al Kooper, Buddy Guy, Ted Nugent, and Joni Mitchell played an all-night tribute jam in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was tragically assassinated earlier that day.


On April 4, 1996, the late Jerry Garcia’s ashes are scattered at the Ganges River by the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir and Garcia’s widow, Deborah.


On April 5, 1971, jazz rockers Chicago became the first American rock band to play Carnegie Hall.


On April 6, 1968, Pink Floyd founding vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Syd Barrett tragically is forced to end his tenure with the band due to his deteriorating mental condition from LSD use.


On April 7, 1975, legendary Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore quits the band and forms a new group that he calls Rainbow. In Deep Purple, Tommy Bolin replaces Blackmore on guitar.


On April 7, 2008, Bob Dylan is awarded an honorary Pulitzer Prize for his “profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” We agree, good lyrics.


On April 7, 1962, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, unknown at the time, attended a performance given by Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated at theEaling Jazz Club. In the venue, they met another young guitarist named Brian Jones. The three would soon begin a band together.


And that’s your week in rock history!

– Tribut Apparel for the Joe Bonamassa Official Blog