The song “Piece of My Heart” was written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns. Erma Frankly, Aretha Franklin’s younger sister, sang the original version. It’s a powerful song, and the version by Janis Joplin and Big Brother & The Holding Company is a powerful performance. ometimes love can do strange things to you — and even make you willing to break off another little piece of your heart for the one you love. It went to on the R&B Chart in 1967. (And it charted again in 1992 in the U.K., as it was used in a Levi’s jeans commercial.) “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother & The Holding Company with Janis Joplin on lead vocal went to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. The single was taken from the album Cheap Thrills by Big Brother & The Holding Company. Joplin sang this at Woodstock as part of her encore in 1969. Their version is on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” It is also on the list of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.” The song has been covered in different ways by a number of artists, including Sammy Hagar, Shaggy, a duet by Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone, Faith Hill, Jenny Morris, and Beverly Knight.
Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1943. She moved to San Francisco in 1966 and then joined Big Brother & The Holding Company. She left to pursue a solo career in 1968. She died of a heroin overdose in 1970 at the age of 27. Big Brother and The Holding Company formed in San Francisco around 1965 and were part of the psychedelic rock scene, which included such bands as The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Jefferson Airplane. The group originally was Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Chuck Jones. Of course, membership has changed over the years, and they continue to perform.