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ScarletMacaw

"Scholarly" analysis of Plant v. Janis Joplin

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I was amazed at this "scholarly" article, which to me seems like a long paranoid rant about how Plant based his vocal style and his manner of dress on Janis Joplin:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/jpms.12081/

What I take away from it is that Plant admired Janis and may have developed his hippie stage presence based on her personal style, but the fact is both of them based aspects of their vocal styles on the blues and Plant's voice is so different from Janis' that I find them hard to compare to each other. Plant's voice is often ethereal, and I find Janis Joplin's voice to be grating.

imo this type of writing is what gives feminism a bad name these days. I also don't find the article to be actually scholarly as it uses circumstantial evidence to try to show Plant somehow ripped off Joplin when we all know you can't copyright singing styles. What I believe the article does illustrate is the complete lack of imagination of rock journalists of the 70s in that the best way they could describe Plant was comparing him to Janis. That's not relevant to what Plant did nor to the history of Led Zeppelin. I found the article to be reminiscent of paranoid conspiracy theory writing. The sad state of academia today!

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47 minutes ago, ScarletMacaw said:

imo this type of writing is what gives feminism a bad name these days.

That's far from the only thing. The article is thick with passages such as:

While I cannot verify Led Zeppelin's actual listening and viewing of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Big Brother's popularity during the initial rise of Zeppelin makes it highly likely the British foursome were well aware them. 

and:

I can only assume from comments like Plant's above that the band listened to the albums, Big Brother and the Holding Company (1966) and Cheap Thrills (1968).

and:

Like any studious musician trying to hit it big, I surmise that Zeppelin knew of Monterey and acquired the album.

and:

Further, Led Zeppelin probably viewed Big Brother performing in the British film “Petulia,” released in 1968.

and:

These fleeting references to Joplin only give a glimpse of how deep the influence might have been 

In other words, there's a whole lot of supposition going on. I tried like hell to read all the way through, but when the article reached the point of trying to demonstrate the similarities between Janis's “whooooooooooa…whoa-ah, who-ah, who-ah-wa-ah,” and Plant's “all-oh-ah-all-oh-ah-all-oh- ah-all-ah-alllll night long.” I just couldn't take it any more. My brain was on the verge of bleeding.

The comparisons made between Joplin and Plant by the music press probably had more to do with the fact that Janis had just reached a level of superstardom at the point that Zeppelin was entering the public eye. To the extent that his vocal style, dress, and mannerisms were similar is almost unarguably the result of both he and Janis drawing from the same influences and culture and not some inane and weakly-supported notion that Plant was ripping her off. And I'll go out on a limb and suggest that the reason why those comparisons ended after a while had less to do with some patriarchal conspiracy and more to do with Janis being out of the public eye by virtue of being dead. Without getting mired in socio-political dreck, I think this author would be better off highlighting the actual accomplishments and influences of women rather than grasping at straws to highlight imaginary ones.

Edited by Balthazor

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These types of articles are silly!

 

Robert had nothing but good to say about his meetings with Janis.

Edited by chef free

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I didn't read it but I can bet that it is filled with conjecture. and hypothesis. 

you want to know where robert plant drew inspiration from? a fair warning, this may be devastating to some of guys who may not know.

 

 

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Without a doubt, Steve Marriot was a HUGE influence on Plant's early style as was Janice...by Plant's own admission. You can hear Plant in several live recordings, both bootleg & official utilize a Janice style very overtly to the point I could not tell the difference between the two, however Plant did not do that in his usual style, he used it as more of a flourish if you will. Zeppelin toured with Janice in 69' on some of those festival dates and Plant & Janice became very close friends. Janice somewhat took Robert under her wing and they spent a good amount of time with each other.

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3 hours ago, IpMan said:

Without a doubt, Steve Marriot was a HUGE influence on Plant's early style as was Janice...by Plant's own admission. You can hear Plant in several live recordings, both bootleg & official utilize a Janice style very overtly to the point I could not tell the difference between the two, however Plant did not do that in his usual style, he used it as more of a flourish if you will. Zeppelin toured with Janice in 69' on some of those festival dates and Plant & Janice became very close friends. Janice somewhat took Robert under her wing and they spent a good amount of time with each other.

I don't know if you read the article, but it goes well beyond suggesting that Plant was influenced by Janis to the point that it's asserting that Plant basically carbon-copied Janis in voice, mannerisms and appearance, and that there's been some kind of sexist conspiracy at work trying to cover it up. Like this woman created this wonderful new thing but then the evil sexist men came along and stole it and passed it off as their own. Because sexism. That's pretty much the gist of the article. Or at least what I could stomach of it.

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50 minutes ago, Balthazor said:

I don't know if you read the article, but it goes well beyond suggesting that Plant was influenced by Janis to the point that it's asserting that Plant basically carbon-copied Janis in voice, mannerisms and appearance, and that there's been some kind of sexist conspiracy at work trying to cover it up. Like this woman created this wonderful new thing but then the evil sexist men came along and stole it and passed it off as their own. Because sexism. That's pretty much the gist of the article. Or at least what I could stomach of it.

maybe the girl who wrote it was just jealous because he is a guy and was still prettier than a lot of women :lol: 

when I see robert plant on stage I see absolutely no similarity to janis joplin. the way she dresses, dances and the over all energy of her performance is a lot different. janis joplin was way more eccentric with her body movements; much more fidgety. early on robert was relatively subdued and dressed very sharp. she was a hippy and he was a mod. the only similarity that I hear is that they both scream but she wasn't the only one who did that, or the first. 

the writer tries to make there is a connection that because they toured together he may have ripped off some stuff off from watching her live but he had his sound figure out before they toured together. I cant say, because I was not in the u.k. during the late 60's but I dont think janis joplin would have even been know by many people there until later on, although I could be wrong.

 

 

she bases a lot on the comparisons made by a lot of music journalists. just because some people made a comparison doesn't mean its the end all be all. if we went off of what these so called "music experts" thought about led zeppelin, they probably wouldn't have made it past their first tour.

im not saying she didnt have an influence on robert plant but writer makes it seem like he owes every part of his persona as the front man of led zeppelin to janis joplin.

Edited by sk8rat

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8 hours ago, sk8rat said:

she bases a lot on the comparisons made by a lot of music journalists. just because some people made a comparison doesn't mean its the end all be all. if we went off of what these so called "music experts" thought about led zeppelin, they probably wouldn't have made it past their first tour.

I agree, and like the OP said, it probably had more to do with the laziness of the rock journalists to say that Plant was like a male Janis Joplin given that Joplin was at or around the zenith of her popularity at the time. I've also read a lot of rock journalists at the time comparing Plant to Rod Stewart too, but that doesn't seem to get mentioned in the article. Come to think of it, it almost surprises me that the author of the article didn't go all-in with the conspiracy and suggest that after stealing Joplin's entire act Zeppelin had her killed too.

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That article is just the most recent ridiculous attempt to exaggerate the importance of Janis Joplin.

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4 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

That article is just the most recent ridiculous attempt to exaggerate the importance of Janis Joplin.

That made me laugh out loud. :D

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1 hour ago, Balthazor said:

That made me laugh out loud. :D

What makes me laugh out loud is an author who writes words to the effect that "Robert Plant has never cited her as an influence, but let me spend the next 10,000 words attempting to assert that she was". It's ridiculous, and of course Bay Area journalists were prone to draw comparisons to Bay Area artists like Joplin, if only because they were too myopic to know much if anything about Robert's peers. 

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15 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

What makes me laugh out loud is an author who writes words to the effect that "Robert Plant has never cited her as an influence, but let me spend the next 10,000 words attempting to assert that she was". It's ridiculous, and of course Bay Area journalists were prone to draw comparisons to Bay Area artists like Joplin, if only because they were too myopic to know much if anything about Robert's peers. 

I would further say that the Bay area scene in general was to myopic to see beyond the Bay area for the most part. RS did pretty much everything they could to try and convince the world the American rock scene started & ended with SF.

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5 hours ago, IpMan said:

I would further say that the Bay area scene in general was to myopic to see beyond the Bay area for the most part. RS did pretty much everything they could to try and convince the world the American rock scene started & ended with SF.

We are in agreement on something for perhaps the second time in history! Yes indeed, it was Rolling Stone magazine that made Joplin and so many other Bay Area artists household names. That's all well and good, but not when it leads to a canard like "Janis Joplin directly influenced Robert Plant".  

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19 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

We are in agreement on something for perhaps the second time in history! Yes indeed, it was Rolling Stone magazine that made Joplin and so many other Bay Area artists household names. That's all well and good, but not when it leads to a canard like "Janis Joplin directly influenced Robert Plant".  

Common ground! Eureka!

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I was not going to contribute to this thread but I have just watched Little Girl Blue; a rather interesting Janis Joplin documentary broadcast tonight on BBC 4. The article seems to miss one very crucial point about Janis and her vocal style. Dave Getz of Big Brother Holding Company states clearly that Janis and himself had gone see Otis Redding at the Filmore and that his performance had such an influence she incorporated his vocal technique into hers.

It sounds to me cross pollination of vocal techniques happens all the time but to omit the influence of Redding is odd in the context of the criticism of the article.

Janis was a major talent and seems to have grown up with a love of the blues.

Another criticism of the article is that somehow UK acts (in this instance Led Zeppelin) copied her. In fact it is easy to see that LZ and many other UK acts were steeped in the Blues years before they broke globally. Plant, Page, et al were listening to obscure acts in their early teens and absorbing it all.

I would recommend the documentary if you have not seen it.

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Posted (edited)
On Tuesday, March 08, 2016 at 10:04 PM, sk8rat said:

I didn't read it but I can bet that it is filled with conjecture. and hypothesis. 

you want to know where robert plant drew inspiration from? a fair warning, this may be devastating to some of guys who may not know.

 

 

While I'm well aware of a lot of Zep influences I can't recall ever hearing this but man that is pretty freaking much 68-71ish Plant.

 

Edit: New here for few days. Just realized this thread is 2 years old.

Edited by Chick-N-Picker

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