Wild Young Minds: A Eulogy for Janis

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Eulogy for Janis

In my English class, we have to write many speeches. Last week, we had to write a eulogy, which is a way of honouring something or someone who died. I wrote one for Janis Joplin, one of my biggest inspirations and definitely one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. It may seem a bit odd, but I wanted to share it with you, for I think it's such a great way to think about your idols and do something with their greatness. So here's to Janis (imagine a glass of wine or whiskey in one hand and a cigarette in the other - that was who she was)! 

‘Only the good die young’, is definitely the case when it comes to Janis Joplin. Janis Joplin was a free spirit, a wonderful woman and an awfully good artist. To become the queen of cool was never on her to-do-list. That was just what she was; that was just what she was born to become. She turned herself into a victim of her own lifestyle, which cost her her life. What started as an innocent listening to the Blues, turned into a frequent use of alcohol and drugs and eventually led to a heroin overdose.

She was born in Texas in 1943 as the daughter of an engineer and a registrar. As a child, she was already interested in blues music and the Beat movement. The local choir is where she started singing, which became the birth of a successful career. Janis Joplin made songs that inspired the entire music industry, that were important in the ‘Swinging Sixties’, that breathed her never-ending passion. Passionate she was, be it in a good and in a bad way. Janis was the queen of the hippies. What would the Sixties have been like if Janis Joplin weren’t there? She paved the way for many women to be free, leading them to a place where they could do what they wanted. All by her music.

To me,  the record ‘Pearl’ is the best record in the world. ‘Get it while you can’, one of her songs, remembers me of the fact that I should grab every opportunity, take every chance and do what comes on my way. To her loved ones, Janis was caring and a warm soul. To herself, she was a woman addicted to music. To sing was to feel like the first time she was in love, she said. It was everything to her.

The world has lost yet another legend way too soon. Only 27 she was, so much of her was to become. She could have written so many more poetic lyrics, which she could have sung so passionately. We will never know what legendary work she would have made, since we are left with her early records, that will make the sounds of a raw voice, a bitter sweet voice. It is the voice of Janis Joplin. A voice no one will ever forget for it moved mountains in the world of music. 

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