As much as Janis Joplin was influenced by those who came before her, the soulful singer’s passionate delivery, powerful pipes and free spirit served as an inspiration for generations of aspiring singers and musicians to come. While her life was tragically cut short, Joplin’s legacy lives on through countless artists who count her as one of their biggest influences.
Joplin’s legacy also lives on in a Broadway musical that has recently taken to the road. “A Night with Janis Joplin” celebrates the music of the legendary singer and also takes a look at some of Joplin’s own influences. To extrapolate on the musical’s theme, we thought we would take look at some of the artists who have been influenced by Janis.
What we discovered was that there aren’t many who haven’t been touched by Joplin’s powerful voice. But we narrowed it down to some prominent names who include Janis as one of their biggest sources of inspiration. Here are five artists who were influenced by Janis Joplin.
There’s no doubt that P!nk is a huge Janis Joplin fan. "I have a deep, spiritual connection to Janis,” P!NK is quoted on Janis Joplin’s website. “And I don't know how, why or when. But, I've always been extremely attracted to her energy, and her pain, and her voice, and her life. I just think she is one of the most amazing women that ever lived." P!nk’s song “Unwind” is sung from Janis’s perspective and musically the song is reminiscent of Janis’s later groups Full Tilt Boogie Band and Kozmic Blues Band. There is certainly a bit of Janis in P!nk’s voice too, especially in “Unwind.” She also does a pretty amazing cover of “Me and Bobby McGee. Check it out above.
Just like Janis, the British singer certainly has soul. In a memorable Grammy tribute to Janis in 2005, Joss Stone performed “Cry Baby” and was later joined by Melissa Etheridge for a rollicking performance of “Piece of My Heart” that brought the house down and the Grammy crowd to their feet. You can watch Joss and Melissa pay tribute to Janis in the video above.
Janis Joplin paved the way for female rockers like Joan Jett . Joan shares with Janis a certain swagger that Joan began crafting at a young age. "I remember thinking that Janis Joplin sang like Mae West talked. When I first heard the primal scream in 'Piece Of My Heart,' I was hooked. 'Cheap Thrills,' Janis 'Live' with Big Brother And The Holding Company, was one of my all time faves. During the 'whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa's' in 'Combination Of Two,' I couldn't help but go to the mirror and pretend I was a wild woman like Janis, in a rock band." Joan Jett loves rock & roll and always gives it her all, just like Janis.
While she may not have the Janis rasp, Alicia Keys has pipes. And just like Janis, Alicia leaves everything on the stage when she performs. Alicia is quoted as admiring Janis’s raw candidness. "You listen to a Janis Joplin record and she just puts -- she wears everything on her sleeve, whether she's completely drugged up, it's on her sleeve. If she's totally just passionately screaming at the top of her lungs, it's on her sleeve. You feel like whatever she's talking about and whatever she's singing about, she sang it with no cares, no second thoughts, no looking back. She didn't say, 'You know what, let's take that take again.' She sang it and she sang it with every bone in her body, and that was that" Keys said. Alicia also does a pretty spot on impersonation of Janis. Check it out above.
Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine
has spoke on numerous occasions about her love and respect for Janis. While their singing styles are different, Welch reminds of Janis in her conviction and ability to captivate an audience. In a Facebook post, Welch speaks about her deep admiration for Janis.
“I learnt about Janis from an anthology of female blues singers. Janis was a fascinating character who bridged the gap between psychedelic blues and soul scenes. She was so vulnerable, self-conscious and full of suffering. She tore herself apart yet on stage she was totally different. She was so unrestrained, so free, and she wasn't afraid to wail… Her connection with the audience was really important. It seems to me the suffering and intensity of her performance go hand in hand. There was always a sense of longing, of searching for something. I think she really sums up the idea that soul is about putting your pain into something beautiful.”