Janis Joplin Escaped to Rio's Carnival 50 Years Ago

The singer was kicked out of the Copacabana Palace, went topless on the beach, cried in the sand and hit the bars

"They tried to send me to rehab / I said no, no, no," sang the great Amy Winehouse. She was, of course, an artistic pupil of Janis Joplin, the greatest rock singer who ever lived.

Janis eventually agreed to go to the "rehab." But she didn't escape to a clinic for rehab. She fled to Rio's Carnival 50 years ago. On February 6, 1970, a Friday before the celebration, Janis set foot in the city.

By this time, the singer had swept the USA with the two albums released with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, with the second, "Cheap Thrills" (1968), having reached the top of the charts.

Janis Joplin at the Copacabana Palace - File Photo / Agência O Globo - Neg : 58095

The third album, however, "I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!", released in September 1969 as a Janis solo album, did not repeat the success of the previous one.

She and her stylist, Linda Gravenites, stayed at the Copacabana Palace, where few knew who she was. An employee at the H. Stern store who worked at the hotel, however, recognized the muse.

This is because the girl's boyfriend, a photographer for the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone magazine, had just returned from New York with many records in his luggage, including "Cheap Thrills". Ricky Ferreira kept talking about the singer to his girlfriend.

That night, she told Ricky that her favorite singer was staying at the hotel where she worked. Ferreira ran there the next day, but Janis had just been kicked out of Copacabana Palace for jumping naked into the pool.

He found her crying on the beach, in front of the hotel, not knowing what to do. Half a century later, Ricky remembers that he tried to find accommodation for both of them. "But it was Carnival; everything was packed. So I offered them to go to my room and living room in Leblon. And we went."

 Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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