Janis Joplin was a rock singer known for her absolutely incredible stage presence. She was an icon of the late 60s, and one of the biggest female rockstars of her time.
In this video, Joplin performs “Maybe” on The Ed Sullivan Show on March 16, 1969. This was the year Joplin began her solo career as she had previously been a part of larger groups like Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Her performance is backed by a full band. In addition to various guitars and percussionists, Joplin’s musicians include an organist, saxophonist, and trumpeter.
Though the year was 1969, it’s evident that the hippy style of the 70s has taken hold. Joplin is barefaced, and her wild hair is without product or style. Gone is the mod fashion of miniskirts and bold colors. It’s much more about a comfortable, casual look.
Janis’ song “Maybe” is about trying to win a lover back. The singer doesn’t know why her partner has left, but maybe if she does this, or maybe if she tries that, he’ll come home to her.
Joplin’s famed mezzo-soprano voice truly shines in this live performance. Her powerful rendition of “Maybe” is so raw, so full of emotion. Joplin’s longing is palpable.
This live version of Joplin’s classic is a fan’s delight. Many viewers believe this performance is better than any of her studio recordings. Enjoy this incredible performance by a rockstar gone much too soon.