Janis Joplin’s ‘Pearl’ Gets 50th Anniversary Releases

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Janis Joplin, Pearl, Hollywood, 1970 (Photo: © Barry Feinstein Photography Inc.; used with permission)

Janis Joplin’s final studio album, Pearl, will be the subject of a variety of 50th anniversary releases, overseen by the Joplin Estate and Columbia/Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. The album, her final studio LP, was originally issued on January 11, 1971, via Columbia Records–three months after Joplin‘s passing on October 4, 1970, and eight days before what would have been her 28th birthday on January 19.

JanisJoplin.com will be releasing an exclusive capsule collection which includes a fine art collaboration with the estate of Barry Feinstein, the acclaimed celebrity photographer who lensed the iconic Pearl album cover; further details will be announced soon. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is curating a special exhibit devoted to Joplin, Pearl and more, scheduled to open May 21, 2021.

Genesis Publications has announced the upcoming publication of a new limited edition book, Janis Joplin: Days & Summers – Scrapbook 1966-68. During her career, Joplin created a personal record of her meteoric rise to fame and the flowering of Sixties counterculture, including posters, souvenirs, press clippings, photographs and records, and annotated them with her comments. Featured alongside are previously unpublished items from her personal archive, including letters she wrote home to her family and a preceding scrapbook from her senior high school years, 1956-59. The book’s in-depth text provides a new account of the singer’s extraordinary life. It’s available to preorder at Joplin’s website.

From the Jan. 8 announcement: The only album Joplin ever recorded with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, the touring ensemble that had backed her on the Festival Express (a mythic 1970 concert tour by railroad across Canada with the Grateful Dead, the Band and others), Pearl included canonical studio recordings of songs she’d introduced to audiences on tour.

Peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200, a position it held for nine weeks, Pearl showcased some of Janis’s most familiar and best-loved performances including her cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and the off-the-cuff a cappella “Mercedes Benz,” the last song she ever recorded.

Columbia/Legacy will release a new official video for “Me & Bobby McGee” later this year.

Related: 50 Years Ago – 1971 in rock music

Pearl has been certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA with Janis Joplin’s overall album catalog–including greatest hits compilations–accounting for 17 Platinum and 3 Gold certifications (approximately 18.5 million records) in the United States. Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits was RIAA certified 9x Platinum on November 22, 2019 while “Piece of My Heart” (her breakout single from Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, one of 1968’s top-selling albums) has recently been certified Platinum. More than 31 million Joplin albums have been sold worldwide.

Scheduled for April 2021, Vinyl Me, Please, the “best damn record club out there,” in association with Columbia/Legacy, will release a collectible 50th anniversary limited edition of Pearl pressed on white “Pearl” color 180g vinyl. Available for pre-order here.

In July 2021, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, in association with Columbia/Legacy, will release a limited edition 50th Anniversary Edition of Pearl as an UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2-LP box set. Mastered from the Original Master Tapes with Mobile Fidelity’s One-Step process, this edition is pressed at RTI on MoFi SuperVinyl for definitive sound quality and comes packaged with foil-stamped jackets. Available for pre-order here.

Baby Janis: A Book about Nouns will be released by Running Press on April 20, and is available for pre-order now here. Introduce your littlest rocker to a variety of nouns, language and creative concepts seen through eyes of a young Janis Joplin in this next installment of the Baby Rocker series.

The Joplin Estate invites fans to communicate via text on the new dedicated number: 415-301-4533.

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