Janis Joplin nursed a lifelong affection for the blues singer Bessie Smith, who died tragically in a automotive accident in 1937 and lay for greater than 30 years in an unmarked grave, in line with The New York Instances. On the time of her dying, the Blues singer’s household couldn’t scrape collectively sufficient cash for a extra becoming monument on the Mount Garden Cemetery.
However in August of 1970, Joplin and Juanita Inexperienced, a registered nurse from Pennsylvania, footed the invoice to have a correct tombstone erected on the grave of “The Empress of the Blues.” Roughly 50 followers attended the tombstone placement ceremony the place the slab that includes the inscription, “The Best Blues Singer within the World Will By no means Cease Singing,” loved everlasting placement. The jazz historian John Harmon wrote this epitaph, retaining fond reminiscences from working with Bessie Smith at Columbia Studios.
As for Inexperienced, she’d made Smith’s acquaintance within the Thirties at Lincoln Theater. Whereas Joplin by no means met Smith personally, the similarities between the 2 performers proved uncanny. In “Love, Janis,” she notes that Linda Gottfried, Joplin’s good friend and roommate, believed Joplin to be the reincarnation of Smith, from her foul mouth to her penchant for eccentric garments and sexual experimentation.