Janis Joplin Songs Ranked

Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer-songwriter who sang rock, soul and blues music. One of the most successful and widely known rock stars of her era, she was noted for her powerful mezzo-soprano vocals and “electric” stage presence. In 1967, Joplin rose to fame following an appearance at Monterey Pop Festival, where she was the lead singer of the then little-known San Francisco psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. After releasing two albums with the band, she left Big Brother to continue as a solo artist with her own backing groups, first the Kozmic Blues Band and then the Full Tilt Boogie Band. She appeared at the Woodstock festival and the Festival Express train tour. Five singles by Joplin reached the Billboard Hot 100, including a cover of the Kris Kristofferson song “Me and Bobby McGee”, which reached number 1 in March 1971. Her most popular songs include her cover versions of “Piece of My Heart”, “Cry Baby”, “Down on Me”, “Ball and Chain”, and “Summertime”; and her original song “Mercedes Benz”, her final recording. Joplin died of an accidental heroin overdose in 1970 at age 27, after releasing three albums. A fourth album, Pearl, was released in January 1971, just over three months after her death. It reached number one on the Billboard charts. She was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Rolling Stone ranked Joplin number 46 on its 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She remains one of the top-selling musicians in the United States, with Recording Industry Association of America certifications of 15.5 million albums sold. Here are all Janis Joplin songs ranked.

Don’t miss out the music of Janis Joplin. Click below and listen to her most memorable songs.

15. I Need a Man to Love (Cheap Thrills, 1968)

“I don’t think I can find anyone who sang something so perfect. So great and very catchy. The most soothing yet upbeat song she’s done.

14. Little Girl Blue (Again Mama!, 1969)

“This is mellow awesome blues rock music in the vein of the Allman brothers band just sit back and relax. The guitars are groovy, and the singing is cool. She does not have the best voice in the world but she was an good live performer and I believe deserves all the acclaim she got from 1967 until she died in 1970. What a role model for girls every where. Awesome jams, play them back to back you will enjoy.”

13. Kozmic Blues (Again Mama!, 1969)

“Her band is downright awful here, downright out of key, lacking the fundamental essence of quality arrangements, yet somehow here on Kozmic Blues, Janis has never sounded better, and the band she’s hooked up with are doing the righteous thing for her.  That being said, there’s no way these cats can last for more than one record, because Janis deserves better, she deserves it all, where far better musicianship would only enhance her entrancing musical visions, staggering her audience to the back walls, as all of the space in front of Janis is need to give her room to breath, room to roam and melt away the haze you walked into the show with.”

12. To Love Somebody (I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, 1969)

“Putting the bare power of Soul in ”To Love Somebody” Pop skeleton, rendering it unrecognizable , moulding it with subtlety and bringing it to an expressive finale; the powerful title track, built from a trivial but pungent descending pattern, discreet but effectively interwoven guitar and piano , the band cohesively flirting with tension as Janis sings her heart out amidst layers of organ, guitar and horns”

See more: Janis Joplin Albums Ranked

11. Move Over (Pearl, 1971)

” Topped with Joplin’s cackle of a laugh at the end, it sounds spontaneously recorded and for good reason – it is a great cut capturing part of her personality. Look to “Move Over” as another strong performance.”

10. Ball and Chain (Ball and Chain, 1968)

“The live version from the Monterey International Pop Festival (1967) is phenomenal. That festival introduced Joplin to a wider audience and launched her career.”

9. Get It While You Can (Pearl, 1971)

“I am in the generation that loved Janis. This is one of my favorites. She has that smokey, penetrating voices. She’s the best ever at that blues-rock sound.”

8. Down on Me (Down on Me, 1967)

“Heard this song on the same 70’s album with Flying on the Ground is Wrong and love this version better than the one that is on Janis’ Greatest Hits album”

7. Maybe (Janis, 1969)

“Well this is a classic so i’m not sure what to say except…it takes me back and gives me peace. I love Janis Joplin. This is a great song, I love this song. It sounds great when I play it through my stereo.”

6. Mercedes Benz (Mercedes Benz, 1970)

“I was shockingly appalled at how awful “Mercedes Benz” was when I heard it on the satellite radio for the first time. The second time I heard it, which was in the context of the album, it didn’t annoy me as much but it is still a pointless song in my opinion. It would be 1.0 stars if it weren’t for the “that’s it” and the laugh at the end, which shows that the song was probably a joke and almost justifies the song.”

See more: Rod Stewart Albums Ranked

5. Cry Baby (Pearl, 1971)

“This is another song I used to listen to a very long time ago. She had such a distinctive voice and her songs just went right through me. I would recommend this song and the Mercedes Benz song as being two of the best of the ever famous Pearl album. That’s a gem in itself.”

4. Bye, Bye, Baby (Big Brother & the Holding Company, 1967)

“Takes me back to my youth, some good memories. Listening to some of Janis’ songs now I realize her back up bands were somewhat lacking. Still love tis song though”

3. Summertime (1969-02-12: Fillmore East, New York, NY, USA, 1969)

“Loved the soulful wails of Janis and that heavily fuzzed guitar! Don’t let the fuzz foul ya, the composition of that guitar playing is very fine indeed! Makes you just want to sit back and groove!”

2. Me and Bobby McGee (Pearl, 1971)

“This song really takes me back to when I was a child. My Mum used to sing it before we went to bed. Just such a beautiful, classic song. I can’t believe this is a cover, Janis took it to a whole new level.

1. Piece of My Heart (1969-02-12: Fillmore East, New York, NY, USA, 1969)

“This is quintessential Janis at her best. She slams this song out with everything she has and I swear you can feel her pain, too. She had a short life but she lived big…in fact, with that big voice I am always re-amazed at how petite she actually was. Those who love her love her forever.”