“Piece of My Heart”, Big Brother and the Holding Company, 1968.
Today we kick off 1968, and it’s a whole new game. There was so much enthusiasm surrounding Rock music in 1967 that it actually shifted the paradigm. It used to be that the best bands topped the singles charts. Now the best bands top the album charts. This trend has stuck with Rock music even til today. Rock fans tend to buy the whole album. And that is because there is more enthusiasm for Rock music. The most enthusiastic fans will buy the whole album instead of just one song.
So let’s take this song, “Piece of My Heart”. I am kicking off 1968 with this song even though it only peaked at #12 on the US singles charts. Why would I do that? Because the album it came from, Cheap Thrills spent eight weeks at the top of the album charts. It was also the top selling album at the end of 1968. (It also has a cool album cover done by underground cartoonist, R. Crumb.)
So someone out there might be asking, “well if this song is so great then why did it only peak at #12 on the singles chart?” Because people weren’t buying the single. They were buying the album. Topping the albums chart is actually much more significant than topping the singles chart. Albums are what made the music industry for several decades. And now the music industry is in the toilet, because they aren’t selling albums. Specifically they aren’t selling Rock albums. Rock is the type of music that has always sold the most albums.
Anyway let me get off my soapbox so we can enjoy the vocals of Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company.