‘Final 24’: Did drugs kill Janis Joplin, why the coincidence with Jimi Hendrix's death puzzles music lovers?

It was Janis Joplin's tragic death in October 1970 at age 27 that bewildered fans. Shockingly, Jimi Hendrix died just 16 days before her at age 27 too


                            ‘Final 24’: Did drugs kill Janis Joplin, why the coincidence with Jimi Hendrix's death puzzles music lovers?
Janis Joplin (Getty Images)
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Janis Joplin mesmerized fans with her rock, soul and blues music. Widely known for her powerful mezzo-soprano vocals and "electric" stage presence, she rose to fame following an appearance at Monterey Pop Festival. After that, her tracks like 'Piece of My Heart', 'Cry Baby', 'Down on Me', 'Ball and Chain' and 'Summertime'.

But it was her tragic death in October 1970 at age 27 that bewildered fans. Shockingly, Jimi Hendrix died just 16 days before her at age 27 too. The coincidence also gave birth to the term "27 Club". Her mysterious death still leaves many fans puzzled. That day, in the afternoon, Joplin didn't turn up for a recording session at Sunset Sound Recorders, and that worried producer Paul Rothchild. When Rothchild rang Landmark Motor Hotel and tried reaching out to Full Tilt Boogie's road manager, John Cooke, a close friend of Joplin said she wasn't there.

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Later, Cooke and two of his friends noticed her psychedelically painted Porsche 356 C Cabriolet in the hotel parking lot and when they entered room #105, they found her dead on the floor beside her bed.

Janis Joplin (Getty Images)

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Reports said alcohol was present in the hotel room but no drugs or paraphernalia were found. However, as per a 1983 book authored by Joseph DiMona and Los Angeles County coroner Thomas Noguchi, the evidence was removed from the scene by Joplin’s friend and later added there once they realized that the autopsy would reveal narcotics in her system.

While her death was ruled accidental, Joplin’s publicist-turned-biographer Myra Friedman researched the cause of death after looking at the official documents at Los Angeles County coroner's office and said: "The heroin in her system might have killed her immediately. It did not. When, after a while, she walked out to the lobby [from her room at the Landmark Motor Hotel], she could not have known she was dying. There she chatted with the hotel clerk for a second and asked him to change a five-dollar bill for cigarettes, which she purchased [from the cigarette machine in the lobby].

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Not just that, there was much chatter about the fact whether Janis died immediately or a while later and many people said a heroin overdose couldn't have killed her immediately. Later, the Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs stated that the term "overdose" is most frequently erroneous and claimed that sudden deaths following injection are due to mixing with other the product with various substances and called the term a "synergistic reaction".

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American blues-rock singer Janis Joplin (1943 - 1970), of the group Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Many fans still can't stop talking about it. "Janis wasn't a pot smoker. It made her feel paranoid and unhappy, she was always a drinker. I doubt she left specific instructions to dose people, obviously her friends included a lot of heavy drug users and it was seen as a joke. Even her own sister had one accidentally (she also states that people had already started lifting clothes and furniture from her house to keep/sell)," one Reddit fan said, adding, "I remember reading that she was once out for dinner and a woman there started speaking about dosing people with acid unexpectedly and how it was a right thing to do to open their minds and free their heads, etc. Janis got pissed and started calling her out on violating people and compared it to abuse. You shouldn't do anything to mess with a person's mind, especially unbeknownst to them or against their will." Another said, "Every time I hear 'Try, a little bit harder', I cringe thinking her vocal cords are coming right out. What must one have to feel to sing like that?"

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‘Final 24’ airs every Wednesday at 9 pm ET on AXS TV. More weekly episodes will feature the lives of several other iconic celebrities.