I’m one of those regular weird people.
In September 1968, the budding rock star paid a Beverly Hills auto dealer $3,500 for the three-year-old sports car. When she bought it, the Porsche was a factory-painted “oyster white.” For a flamboyant singer who wore rose-colored glasses and feather boas, that wouldn’t do. So she got roadie Dave Richards to paint it with swirling psychedelic images, including Mount Tamalpais on one fender and a portrait of her with her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, on another.
The singer’s 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet, which she bought when she was living in Larkspur, is usually enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. It came to Marin from the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, where it was on loan.
“They used regular house paint,” Michael Joplin recalled. “They were just playing around, saying, ‘Hey, let’s make an art car.’ They were having a lot of fun. It was a convertible, and she would drive it around with the top down. People would leave notes for her on it.”
Although Janis Joplin did own this psychedelic car, she wrote this song as a materialist society critic:
“…Oh lord, won’t you buy me a mercedes benz? My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends. Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends, so lord, won’t you buy me a mercedes benz…”
‘Mercedes Benz‘, (also called ‘The Politician’) is an a cappella song by Janis Joplin, in which she asks the “Lord” to buy her a Mercedes-Benz, a color TV, and a “night on the town”.
Joplin wrote ‘Mercedes Benz’ as a social critic on how people relate money and material possessions to happiness. In the song she asks God to give her the things she has “earned”.
You got to get it while you can.
Shortly after recording this song, Janis Joplin died on 4th October 1970 at the age of only 27 years and hence is now seen to have become a member of the infamous ’27 Club’. (Other well-known musicians who died at that age were Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, and in 2011, 17 years after Cobain’s death, Amy Winehouse.)