The Queen Bees of Rock

BMI Magazine, March 1968   (www.janisjoplin.net)

In The Press: “In the beginning, the rock world was all Adams and no Eves,” Newsweek commented. But now, “the typical rock group resembles a beehive, three or four drones humming around a queen bee.”

The invasion of girls into the pop music scene provided features for two other major publications in January-the New York Daily News and Glamour.

Two “queen bees” singled out by Newsweek are Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. “There would be no Big Brother & the Holding Company without Janis Joplin and her nuclear-powered blues delivery,” the magazine noted.

Miss Joplin joined the four-man group in 1966 and transformed it into “an acoustical aphrodisiac.” She said: “The tenor of the band is different now. The guys are starting to sing and there is something to build around: me.”

Miss Slick, who sings and writes for the Jefferson Airplane, has “a crystalline contralto that could haunt a house… and [is] author of two of its most brilliant songs, ‘Rejoice’ and ‘White Rabbit’.” She explained that she got more attention than the rest of the Airplane because “if you had a group of five cows and one pig, you’d look at the pig because he was different.”

To Kitty Hanson of the Daily News she said that if she had any message, it was that people should open their minds. “Human beings can do a lot more than they think-unless they start out by thinking they can’t. I just want them to open up-spread themselves out.”

Miss Slick told glamour: “I don’t know if lyrics have to be intelligent-just interesting. Something interesting can be either stupid or intelligent, but it appeals to every side. That’s the main thing…If I sat around long enough looking at this floor and it knocked me out, then I’d write about this floor.

You’ve got to find a way to introduce a subject from a personal point of view, so it isn’t just “Hey, I want to love you. Hey, I want to love you. Bee beep be beep. Bee beep be beep,” because the public’s heard that before.”

Like Grace Slick, Janis Joplin steers clear of cliches. “My whole purpose with this thing is to communicate,” she said in Glamour. “What I sing is my own reality. But just the fact that people come up to me and say ‘Hey, that’s my reality, too’ proves to me that it’s not just mine.”