McClure and singer-songwriter Bob Neuwirth. “Mercedes Benz” makes fun of materialistic consumer culture, as the singer asks God for a Mercedes-Benz, a color TV, and a night on the town. She also refers to the TV show Dialing for Dollars, where you have to be next to your phone to receive your prize — should they call you. (Ironically, Janis herself drove a Porsche.)
Shortly after the song was written, Joplin performed it at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York. She then went to Los Angeles and recorded “Mercedes Benz” for her album Pearl. Those were the last tracks she recorded, as she died three days later of a heroin overdose. She was 27 years old. The song was issued as a single in 1971 with the hit “Cry Baby” on the B-Side. Pearl has gone 4x platinum. The song has been covered by more than 30 artists, and Mercedes-Benz has used it in car ads.