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Piece of My Heart

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'I'll tell you something, man, nobody in this place knows who the fuck I am – or cares. 80-year old bartender doesn't give a shit. Has to serve me cause of the civil rights law, is all. I don't care. I was in a bar last week – tried to throw me out because the cat I was with didn't have a jacket. What it comes down to is they didn't want us there. Sat down, had a drink, put down a hundred dollar bill and split. I love being able to do that. Didn't used to be able to, not so long ago ...' Janis Joplin, Bar Rap #4

Here is the best possible portrait of the teenager from Port Arthur, Texas, who took the blues farther than anyone before or since, offering revealing glimpses of her life on the road - backstage with Jerry Lee Lewis, kidnapped in Kansas, partying with the Grateful Dead, the Band, Bonny and Delaney, and with her own band, Big Brother and the Holding Company. Piece of My Heart goes beyond Joplin's own story to provide us with a portrait of the Kosmic Blues themselves - the self-destruction that lies at the heart of the rock 'n' roll myth.

Published: Jan 1, 2000

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
How to Read this Book: An Annotated Guide to Our Lady of the Perpetual Party David Dalton
Chapter 1
The One Night Stand Existencialista David Dalton
Chapter 2
Southern Tales David Dalton
Chapter 3
The Mechanics of Ecstacy David Dalton
Chapter 4
The Caterpillar on the Leaf David Dalton
Chapter 5
The Million Dollar Bash David Dalton
End Matter
A Chronology David Dalton


A remarkable book ... intimate, revealing, and shocking ... I can think of no book about music that says more than is contained here ... an absolutely devastating portrait of a major culture hero.
Ralph Gleason, San Francisco Chronicle