Los Angeles’ Sunset Sound studio picked up Janis Joplin’s latest recording. A single take. Without music. Not two minutes. And as a farewell… a laugh. It was on October 1, 1970, when the ‘Pearl’ immortalized Mercedes Benz and displayed her unique voice for the last time. Three days later, she died. However, although it is not completely confirmed, numerous sources assure that that day she also recorded a very special birthday greeting to her admired John Lennon.
Supposedly, Janis Joplin made another recording that October 1, 1970. A birthday greeting to John Lennon. It is a fact that is not verified, since there are some sources that cite September 26 as the day on which Janis recorded her message to the Beatle. One day or another, the truth is that Happy birthday, John (Happy Trails) was one of the last recordings of the queen of blues.
What is documented is that Joplin was a fan of the Beatles and Yoko Ono knew it. On October 9, 1970, John Lennon turned 30 and his wife had asked several musicians who admired him, including Janis, to record a greeting. Lennon himself confirmed it on the Dick Cavett Show in 1972. He was asked about the type of friendship that linked him to Janis and for the first time, he revealed it: “We didn’t meet, but she sent me a birthday tape on my birthday for my last birthday. Yoko asked all different people to make a tape for me, and she was one of them, and we got it after she died. It arrived in the post, and she was singing happy birthday to me in the studio.”
Janis chose to cover Happy Trails by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. It started like this: “Hello John, this is Janis. We would just like to wish you a very happy birthday and happy trails to you… until we meet again”.