Pearl is the second and final solo studio album by Janis Joplin, released posthumously in January 1971. It was the final album with her direct participation, and the only Joplin album recorded with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, her final touring unit. It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, holding that spot for nine weeks. It has been certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA.
|Studio album by|
|Released||January 11, 1971|
|Recorded||September 5 - October 4, 1970|
|Studio||Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California|
|Genre||Blues rock, soul blues, R&B, funk rock|
|Producer||Paul A. Rothchild|
|Janis Joplin and the Full Tilt Boogie Band chronology|
|Rolling Stone||(favorable) |
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||A–|
The album has a more polished feel than the albums she recorded with Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Kozmic Blues Band due to the expertise of producer Paul A. Rothchild and her new backing musicians. Rothchild was best known as the recording studio producer of The Doors, and worked well with Joplin, calling her a producer's dream. Together they were able to craft an album that showcased her extraordinary vocal talents. They used Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles.
The Full Tilt Boogie Band were the musicians who accompanied her on the Festival Express, a concert tour by train of Canada, in the summer of 1970. Many of the songs on this album were recorded on the concert stage in Canada two months before Joplin and the band started their Los Angeles recording sessions. The band also appeared twice on The Dick Cavett Show. They also played many American cities, both before and after Festival Express, although no recordings of those concerts have been officially released.
All nine tracks that she sings on were personally approved and arranged by Joplin. Pearl features the number one hit "Me and Bobby McGee", on which she played acoustic guitar, written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster; "Trust Me", by Bobby Womack, written for Joplin; Howard Tate's "Get It While You Can", showcasing her vocal range; and the original songs "Move Over" and "Mercedes Benz", the latter co-written by Joplin, Bobby Neuwirth and Michael McClure.
Joplin sang on all tracks except "Buried Alive in the Blues", which remained a instrumental because she died before adding vocals. The song's writer Nick Gravenites was offered the opportunity to sing it as a tribute to Joplin, but he turned it down. The recording sessions, starting in early September, ended with Joplin's untimely death on October 4, 1970. Her final session, which took place on Thursday, October 1 after a break of several days, yielded her a cappella "Mercedes Benz." It was the last song she recorded before her death.
A reissue of Pearl remastered for CD was released August 31, 1999. It included four previously unreleased live recordings from the Festival Express Tour, recorded on July 4, 1970, as bonus tracks. In 2003, the album was ranked number 122 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. A two-disc Legacy Edition appeared on June 14, 2005, with bonus tracks including a birthday message to John Lennon of "Happy Trails," and a reunion of the Full Tilt Boogie Band in an instrumental tribute to Joplin. The second disc included an expanded set from the Festival Express Tour, recorded between June 28 and July 4, 1970.
The Pearl SessionsEdit
The album was reissued a third time on disc in 2012 as The Pearl Sessions. It contains alternate takes of the songs that constituted the Pearl vinyl album when Columbia Records released it in 1971. Recordings of Joplin and Paul Rothchild talking between takes give the listener insight into their creative musical process.
|1.||"Move Over"||Janis Joplin||3:39|
|2.||"Cry Baby"||Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns||3:55|
|3.||"A Woman Left Lonely"||Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham||3:27|
|4.||"Half Moon"||John Hall, Johanna Hall||3:51|
|5.||"Buried Alive in the Blues"||Nick Gravenites||2:24|
|1.||"My Baby"||Jerry Ragovoy, Mort Shuman||3:44|
|2.||"Me and Bobby McGee"||Kris Kristofferson, Fred Foster||4:29|
|3.||"Mercedes Benz"||Janis Joplin, Bob Neuwirth, Michael McClure||1:46|
|4.||"Trust Me"||Bobby Womack||3:15|
|5.||"Get It While You Can"||Jerry Ragovoy, Mort Shuman (Howard Tate 1966 rendition)||3:23|
|1999 bonus tracks|
|11.||"Tell Mama" (Festival Express Tour, July 4, 1970)||Clarence Carter, Marcus Daniel, Wilbur Terrell||6:32|
|12.||"Little Girl Blue" (Festival Express Tour, July 4, 1970)||Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart||3:50|
|13.||"Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" (Festival Express Tour, July 4, 1970)||Jerry Ragovoy, Chip Taylor||6:52|
|14.||"Cry Baby" (Festival Express Tour, July 4, 1970)||Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns||6:29|
|2005 Legacy Edition bonus tracks|
|11.||"Happy Birthday, John (Happy Trails)"||Dale Evans||1:12|
|12.||"Me and Bobby McGee" (demo version)||Kristofferson, Foster||4:46|
|13.||"Move Over" (alternate version)||Joplin||4:27|
|14.||"Cry Baby" (alternate version)||Ragovoy, Berns||4:59|
|15.||"My Baby" (alternate version)||Ragovoy, Shuman||3:59|
|16.||"Pearl" (instrumental)||Full Tilt Boogie Band||4:29|
|2005 Legacy Edition Disc Two - Live from the Festival Express Tour|
|1.||"Tell Mama" (Toronto, June 28, 1970)||Clarence Carter, Marcus Daniel, Wilbur Terrell||6:49|
|2.||"Half Moon" (Toronto)||John Hall, Johanna Hall||4:38|
|3.||"Move Over" (Calgary, July 4, 1970)||Janis Joplin||4:41|
|4.||"Maybe" (Winnipeg, July 1, 1970)||Richard Barrett||3:57|
|5.||"Summertime" (Winnipeg)||Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, George Gershwin||4:39|
|6.||"Little Girl Blue" (Calgary)||Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart||5:10|
|7.||"That's Rock 'n' Roll" (Toronto)||Full Tilt Boogie Band||5:03|
|8.||"Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" (Toronto)||Jerry Ragovoy, Chip Taylor||9:11|
|9.||"Kozmic Blues" (Toronto)||Janis Joplin, Gabriel Mekler||5:29|
|10.||"Piece of My Heart" (Toronto)||Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns||5:21|
|11.||"Cry Baby" (Toronto)||Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns||6:31|
|12.||"Get It While You Can" (Calgary)||Jerry Ragovoy, Mort Shuman||7:20|
|13.||"Ball and Chain" (Calgary)||Willie Mae Thornton||8:15|
Full Tilt Boogie Band
- Janis Joplin – vocals, guitar on "Me and Bobby McGee"
- Richard Bell – piano
- Ken Pearson – Hammond organ
- John Till – electric guitar
- Brad Campbell – bass guitar
- Clark Pierson – drums
- Bobby Womack – acoustic guitar on "Trust Me"
- Bobbye Hall – congas, percussion
- Phil Badella, John Cooke, Vince Mitchell – backing vocals
- Sandra Crouch – tambourine
|Australian Kent Music Report||1|
|Canadian RPM Albums Chart||1|
|Dutch Albums Chart||1|
|German Albums Chart||3|
|Italian Albums Chart||83|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||1|
|UK Albums Chart||20|
|US Billboard 200||1|
|Canada (Music Canada)||4× Platinum||400,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||4× Platinum||4,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Huey, Steve. "Janis Joplin & the Full Tilt Boogie Band: Pearl" at AllMusic. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Shadoian, Jack (18 February 1971). "Janis Joplin: Pearl". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Christgau, Robert (1970). "Consumer Guide (16)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
- "American album certifications – Janis Joplin – Pearl". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.
- The Story Behind Janis Joplin’s ‘Mercedes Benz’, WS Journal, 7/10/2015
- McClellan, Dennis (October 21, 2011). "Barry Feinstein dies at 80; rock music photographer". Los Angeles Times.
- Los Angeles Times obituary for Barry Feinstein says he photographed Pearl album cover
- Gartner, Paul (7 July 2005). "Janis Joplin: "Pearl"". New Sounds. thegazz.com. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008.
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone: 122 | Pearl - Janis Joplin. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "RPM 100 Albums". RPM. Archived at Library and Archives Canada (Volume 15, No. 4). 13 March 1971. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "Dutch Albums Top 100". May 1, 1971. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- "RIANZ - Janis Joplin Pearl". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- "Italian Albums- Janis Jopiln Pearl". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- "VG Lista - Album Top 40". September 12, 1971. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- "Official Albums Chart Top 30". March 27, 1971. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- "Billboard 200 Albums Chart". February 27, 1971. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- "Canadian album certifications – Janis Joplin – Pearl". Music Canada.
- "British album certifications – Janis Joplin – Pearl". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 February 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Pearl in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.