I have thought this for a few years, but I suddenly felt like sharing it in blog form.
I hate Janis Joplin so much that I wish she had lived. Why? Because had she lived, she would be known as the washed up hag that she truly deserves to be known as.
Janis Joplin is nothing short of wretched and it is only because she died that she has this "legacy". Any screaming homeless woman off the street could have helped pioneer women’s standing in the rock world had anyone bothered to put one on a stage. A few drug busts and bad albums, probably a disco album in the late 70s and her miserable attempt to keep up with the 80s, would have helped see Janis into the oblivion she deserved to be in. The desire to shield the world from her sperm-gagging vocals would have been overwhelming, and so she would have continued only as a train-wreck and public curiosity.
Think about if Courtney Love died in 1995. She was on top of her game then. She was the grunge widow to be pitied, the mother of Kurt Cobain’s only child and "Live Through This" was generally considered to be awesome. Had she died, no matter how it happened, she would have held this legacy of the grunge queen who was taken from us. A suicide to follow Kurt’s would have sealed her as rock royalty for years to come.
But thankfully, she lived, allowing us to see and remember her as she deserves to be. From grunge widow, she morphed into a glamorous movie star. She fueled the fire that Kurt had written “Live Through This” when “Celebrity Skin” considerably failed to meet expectations and the glory of the former. Then down she went into a drug-addled mess, worse than we had ever seen her. Right when it seemed she was on the rise and leaving her rock roots behind for glamour and mainstream superstardom, (which was all she ever really wanted anyway), she crashed and burned more spectacularly than any detractor could have hoped for, with drug arrests, assault arrests, a tanking solo album and humiliating talk show appearances. (See her 2004 Letterman appearance.)
Courtney's disgraceful appearance on Letterman.
Just looking at the rise and fall of Courtney Love, we can see what might, and should have become of the horrific Janis Joplin. From ‘hero’ to ‘hag’ in five paragraphs.