Janis Joplin is well known to have been a bit of a badass. She refused to conform to gender stereotypes that had dictated to her mother’s generation a certain way for a girl to behave, in fact, she openly fought against it at every turn. This sense of self didn’t change when it came to putting pop stars in their place either. Just ask The Doors’ Jim Morrison who took a bottle of Southern Comfort to the head after stepping over the line.
Joplin, as we said, had a bit of a reputation for being a strong, confident, and independent woman. She was more than happy to handle herself when things got sticky, whether it was telling off Jerry Lee Lewis for insulting her sister Laura, or indeed yelling obscenities at cops when asked to calm down her raucous set. So when Morrison’s advances became inappropriate Joplin was quick to cut him down to size. The story, as they say, goes like this…
The pair at the time were two of the biggest musicians in the world. Morrison, the snake-hipped rock star poet capable of making audiences melt with lust, was leading the audience with his work with The Doors through a cultural revolution. Joplin, meanwhile, was living that same revolution with every norm-dividing performance her huge lungs allowed her to bellow out. The pair could’ve been a match made in heaven.
Producer Paul Rothschild certainly thought so, and invited the King and Queen of rock and roll to a party at Hidden Hills in L.A., suggesting that they both arrive sober so they could remember meeting one another in the morning. Both Morrison and Joplin did, in fact, arrive sober but swiftly moved into their natural habitat of an inebriated rock star. Even still, the two of them really hit it off. Joplin was enticed and infatuated by Morrison and his suave yet authentic personality. While Morrison was encapsulated by Joplin’s unstoppably free spirit. Perhaps the fairytale ending was in sight? No, it wasn’t.
Soon enough as the drinks began to swell in the bellies of the rock royalty the night began to descend. Rothschild remembers Morrison, in particular, becoming “a cretin, a disgusting drunk” and falling into old habits of being obnoxious, unpleasant and violent while on the sauce. As one might imagine, this turned Joplin off considerably and she soon asked for Rothschild to take her home.
As Rothschild duly obliged, Morrison continued with his advances becoming more and more unwanted with every whiskey-soaked breath. With every turned down advance, it’s said that Morrison became more attracted to Joplin – clearly not used to being rejected by females at the time. But when Joplin looked set to be driving away with Rothschild Morrison reached into the car and grabbed Joplin by her hair and tried to pull her out of the car.
Big mistake. Joplin, thinking quickly and reacting instantaneously, grabbed a bottle of Southern Comfort and promptly hit Morrison across the head, sending him sprawling to the ground. Now not only his ego was bruised but he took a deserving smack across the head too. Joplin promptly left the party.
Morrison was oddly enough not dissuaded by Joplin’s actions and seemed all the more obsessed by her following her heroic stand. Joplin, however, was rightly unimpressed by Morrison and his actions and refused to let Rothschild give Morrison her number. The pair didn’t reconcile before their untimely deaths in 1970 and 1971 respectively.
While it’s easy to cherish the idea of a legendary couple of rock stars together in love, we must certainly cherish more the legendary, uncompromising, unstoppable force that was Janis Joplin.
Not just a rock star but an icon and idol. As if you needed another reason to love Janis Joplin?