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Janis Joplin finally gets her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

by John Rabe | Off-Ramp

Janis Joplin fan Gail Ostman, before Joplin got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. John Rabe

"This was something patently new and spine-tingling. She was doing for women in rock what Aretha was doing for women in soul. Rewriting all the rules for what was possible and what was permissible." —Record executive Clive Davis

Legendary rock singer Janis Joplin got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday, 43 years after her death from a heroin overdose at the Landmark Motor Hotel in Hollywood.

Joplin sang solo and with Big Brother and the Holding Company and played at the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock.

Janis Joplin sings

Only five years into her career, Joplin overdosed in 1970. The next year, her version of "Me and Bobby McGee" hit number one on the Hot 100.

At Monday's ceremony, Kris Kristofferson — who wrote the song — added a couple poignant words as he performed it again for the crowd: “Feeling good was easy then when Bobby sang the blues. Buddy, that was good enough for me – and Janis – good enough for me and Bobby McGee.”

Legendary music executive Clive Davis, 81 — who later went on to sign Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel — told the crowd at the Walk of Fame ceremony that Joplin was the first musician he signed at Columbia. 

"And she embodied everything — everything — I was looking for: the innovative and the charismatic, the artist for a new generation," Davis said. "And, of course, it broke my heart when she died. I was angry because she was depriving everyone of her life force."

Joplin's star is near the corner of Hollywood and Highland, in front of the Musicians Institute.

(Listen to our audio to hear Davis talking about Joplin's offer to "seal their association in a less traditional, more physical way," and to hear Kristofferson's new version of his old song.)

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