Today in rock history: on this date in 1970, soulful blues rock vocalist Janis Joplin passed away. The successful and mighty singer, who made her initial mark on the rock world by winning over a large crowd at 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival, was at the top of her game at the time of her unfortunate death from a heroin overdose. On the verge of releasing a brand new record (the now legendary Pearl album) that included her career-defining rendition of the Kris Kristofferson composition that she’d make all her own, “Me and Bobby McGee,” Joplin was poised to become the biggest female rock star of her era. Her death hit young music fans particularly hard as many were still reeling from the loss of fellow rock legend Jimi Hendrix who’d died two weeks prior to her passing.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1982, The Smiths made their live debut at The Ritz in their hometown of Manchester, England. The band that would soon go on to become one of the most influential and respected British bands of all time played a four song set in support of fellow U.K. jazz/pop band Blue Rondo à la Turk and allegedly did not go over very well. By May of 1983, the band would release its first single, “Hand In Glove,” which would top the British indie singles chart and would mark the start of the short but incredible run the band would enjoy.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1982, the most successful pop duo of all time, Daryl Hall and John Oates released their 11th studio album, H20. The blockbuster album spawned three major hit singles that all cracked the U.S. Top 10 including their biggest hit of all time, “Maneater” which enjoyed a four week run at the no. 1 spot. The album peaked at no. 3 on Billboard’s pop albums chart and spent a whopping 68 weeks on that chart. Other hit singles from record included the new wave pop classic “Family Man” and the sultry soul ballad “One On One” which was also a major hit on R&B charts as well.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1971, the soundtrack for rocker Frank Zappa’s surrealist film 200 Motels was released. The movie featured appearances by Zappa’s band The Mothers of Invention and ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, and the soundtrack featured a mixture of pop and jazz tunes along with some orchestral compositions and spoken dialogue all composed by Zappa himself. The double-LP soundtrack album that accompanied the offbeat film debuted surprisingly high on Billboard’s albums chart (it came in at no. 59 for its initial appearance) and has been deemed an integral yet unusual piece of the vast Zappa repertoire of work.