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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

October 4, 1970

Here we are...the first Tuesday Timeline for October 2016!  I'll admit that I struggled to find a topic for today, but with every little piece of my heart, I think I found someone worthy of the honour.

For now, enjoy this list of historical events that took place on October 4.

1302 - The Byzantine-Venetian War comes to an end with the signing of a peace treaty

1535 - The first English-language version of the Bible is published

1582 - The Gregorian Calendar is first implemented by Pope Gregory XIII

1779 - The Fort Wilson Riot takes place

1876 - Texas A&M University opens to the public - the first institute of higher education to open in the state

1883 - The Orient Express runs for the first time

1895 - The first U.S. Open Men's Golf Championship is played in Newport, Rhode Island; also on this date, actor Buster Keaton (d. 1966) is born

1917 - The Battle of Broodseinde takes place during World War I

1923 - Actor and former NRA president Charlton Heston (d. 2008) is born in Wilmette, Illinois

1927 - Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting Mount Rushmore

1937 - Novelist Jackie Collins (d. 2015) is born in Hampstead, London, England

1957 - Sputnik 1 is launched

1963 - Over 6,000 people lose their lives when Hurricane Flora makes landfall over Cuba and Haiti

1965 - Pope Paul VI becomes the first Pope to visit the Americas, greeting people in New York City

1980 - Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" reaches the top spot on the Billboard Charts

1983 - Richard Noble sets a new land speed record of 633.468 miles per hour driving Thrust2 at the Black Rock Desert in the state of Nevada

1989 - Famous race horse Secretariat dies, aged 19

1992 - A devastating airplane crash occurs in Amsterdam when El Al Flight 1862 crashes into two apartment buildings, killing 43 on the craft and another 39 people on the ground

1997 - Boyz II Men's "4 Seasons of Loneliness" hits the top of the Billboard Charts

2001 - NASCAR driver Blaise Alexander dies in a car accident, aged 25

2006 - Julian Assange releases the WikiLeaks website

2010 - The Danube River and the Marcal River are severely polluted following an accident at Hungary's Ajka plant

And happy birthday to the following October 4 babies - Alvin Toffler, Leroy Van Dyke, Steve Swallow, Roy Blount Jr., Karen Cushman, Anne Rice, Clifton Davis, Susan Sarandon, Jim Fielder, Duke Robillard, Armand Assante, Stephen Gyllenhaal, Meg Bennett, Gil Moore, Bill Fagerbakke, Russell Simmons, Anneka Rice, Chris Lowe, Jon Secada, Liev Schreiber, Darren Middleton, Alicia Silverstone, Craig Robert Young, Philip Glasser, Rachael Leigh Cook, Caitriona Balfe, Melissa Benoist, and Dakota Johnson.

Okay, now let's hop in our Tuesday Timeline machine and set it back to today's chosen date.

Oh, look...October 4, 1970.  That seems like a good date to start.

It's also a good time to talk about a so-called curse in the world of music and entertainment.  Perhaps you might have heard of something called the 27 Club?

Believe me, it's a club that most people probably don't want to join.  Good thing for me - at 35, I'm ineligible to enter.

The 27 Club is a term given to all of those rock stars and musicians whose careers ended far too soon.  What makes this club unique is that every single one of them died before their 28th birthdays, making them forever 27.

Some members of this club include Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, and Mia Zapata, amongst others.

Sadly, it was 46 years ago today that another entertainer joined that club - the result of a heroin overdose likely sped up by alcohol abuse.  Her body was found in room #105 at Hollywood's Landmark Motor Hotel by producer Paul Rothchild, and with her death came the end of what might have been a promising career as a rock, soul, and blues singer.

Who knew that this particular song would end up being one of the last songs that she would ever record?

ARTIST:  Janis Joplin
SONG:  Mercedes Benz
ALBUM:  Pearl
DATE RELEASED:  January 11, 1971

Janis Joplin recorded that song in one take on October 1, 1970.  It's therefore sad to know that just 72 hours after recording this song that she would be dead.

And to think that when she was born on January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas, she really had no idea that her life would be cut so short.  Though, Janis' rebellious nature certainly seemed to start at a very early age.

You see, Janis was considered an outcast in her childhood years.  If she were still alive today, I could see her wearing that label with a lot of pride.  I think that's one of the reasons why I absolutely respect her as an artist because we are both cut from the same cloth.  Kids could be cruel, and certainly they were when Janis was attending school, attacking her on her weight, her acne scars, and even her tastes in music.  Keep in mind that Texas in the 1950s was very much a state that dealt with a lot of racism, and because Janis never felt that way, she was picked on as a result.  How far we've come since then!

Janis herself once stated that it was her listening to blues and soul music in her childhood that encouraged her to become a singer in the first place.  It was that love of blues music that prompted Janis to move halfway across the country to San Francisco, California, but a few years later, she moved back to Texas after getting severely addicted to drugs. 

She made an effort to clean up her life when she returned to her home state, and even had plans to get married to a man that she met while she was in San Francisco, but the wedding plans were called off, and Janis soon joined the psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company.

And in 1967, when she and her band performed at the Monterey Pop Festival and released their debut album, it certainly cemented the fact that Janis Joplin was going to be a huge star.  After all, the group enjoyed several hit singles, including this one below.

Though, Joplin's involvement with the band would turn out to be quite short.  News publications and music magazines frequently singled out Janis as being the star of the band, and the other band members seemed to be quite upset that Janis was getting all of the limelight.  Though, nobody could deny that Janis definitely had stage presence, and could motivate any crowd into losing themselves in the music.  She would leave the group in 1968 to pursue her own solo career that kicked off with the album "I Got Dem Ol' Kosmic Blues Again Mama", released on September 11, 1969.  Before that album was released, Joplin performed at the Woodstock festival, which only served to increase her popularity in the music world.

And you know, I'm sure that had Janis Joplin survived, she would continue to make music today.  Though, it's hard to guess what that music would sound like.  Would she have gone the New Wave route of the 1980s?  Would she have continued to be a singer-songwriter?  Would she have crossed over to country music?  None of us really know what might have happened.

What I can tell you is that Janis Joplin did inspire a lot of female musicians to follow their passions, and she very well was among the first wave of female singer-songwriters to dominate the charts throughout the 1970s and 1980s.  Stevie Nicks and Florence Welch have named her as one of their biggest influences in their own careers.  And Janis' hits have been covered by a multitude of artists, such as Gordon Lightfoot, Roger Miller, Faith Hill, and Kenny Rogers, among others.

One final footnote is that when Janis Joplin died 46 years ago, her funeral was done her own way and was meant to be more of a celebration of life rather than sorrow filled mourning.  Joplin's will clearly stated that two thousand five hundred dollars was to be set aside to throw a wake party which was held October 26, 1970.

You have to appreciate a woman who lived life by her own methods and not conforming to society.  I know that I certainly respect her. 

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