Mercedes Benz

Album: Pearl (1971)
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  • Janis Joplin didn't own a Mercedes Benz - she had a Porsche that went on a long, strange trip. She bought the car, a 1965 356c Cabriolet, for $3500 in 1968. It was white when she got it, which wouldn't do, so she had her artistic roadie Dave Roberts give it a psychedelic makeover that was dubbed "History of the Universe," complete with mushrooms, butterflies, and skulls. She drove it just about every day; the car served as a beacon, revealing her location. Fans would often leave notes for Joplin under the wipers when they spotted it.

    When Joplin died in 1970, the Porsche was parked in the garage of the Landmark Hotel, where she was staying. Her manager, Albert Grossman took possession of the vehicle and drove it for a while, but it eventually fell into disrepair. In the early '90s, her family reclaimed the vehicle, restoring it and commissioning artists to work on the paint job (recreating the original art). In 1995, they loaned it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where it was exhibited for 20 years. On December 10, 2015, it was auctioned at Sotheby's for a staggering $1.76 million. Taking its place in the Rock Hall: ZZ Top's Eliminator.

    Sergio Calleja (Life is a trip) from Barcelona, Spain, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Comments: 31

  • Debbie from HoustonActually, in the Houston area, the ABC affiliate, Channel 13, was the one that played "Dialing for Dollars". Dave Ward, the anchorman who set the record for the longest anchor career on tv, used to host it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 29th 1886, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the world's first successful gasoline-powered motorcar, was patented. It was built by Karl Benz and was the first automobile designed to generate its own power using an internal combustion engine as the drive system...
    Just under eighty-six years later on January 23rd, 1972 the Goose Creek Symphony entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart with "(Oh Lord Won't You Buy Me A) Mercedes Benz"; eventually it peaked at #64 and spent 9 weeks on the Top 100...
    The original version of the song was track three on side two of Janis Joplin's 1971 album, 'Pearl', and on February 21st, 1971 the album reached #1 {for 9 weeks} on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart {the album also peaked at #1 in Canada and Australia}...
    R.I.P. Ms. Joplin {1943 - 1970}.
  • David from Keswick, OnAnyone ever noticed the musical similarities and ironies between the song Swing Low Sweet Chariot and Mercedes Benz?
    I was humming Swing Low in my head today and thought I'd heard the melody for the "Chariot" phrase, or something close to it, in another song. I kept humming it, and then realized that that other song was Mercedes Benz, which is ironically, a modern Chariot.
    Further irony, 3 days after Janis sung that song, she was "carried home"
  • Jude from Denver, CoMike. I don't agree that you have to had come from where Janis lived to understand her. I live in Colorado and even all the way up here in the mountains her soulful and often times hurting voice reverberates across the highest peaks and I more often than not relate to her feelings of hopless alienation and lonliness in the songs she would sing.
  • Mike from Albuquerque, NmYou have to be a contemporary of Janis Joplin and be from where she came from to really appreciate what she did, what she was and what she became. This song is a statement about the world she grew up in SE TX that was often not very nice to her but, she sings it not with bitterness but, with good hearted humor because she knew for better or worse it was part of who she was.
  • Beth from Winston-salem, NcCount me in with the group of people bothered by this ending up in a Mercedes commercial. I don't have a problem with popular music being used in TV ads, it's when the advertisers don't do their homework that it becomes an annoyance.

    Either way, this is still a great song and a testament to her talent.
  • Amanda from Shreveport, Lamy sister is a big Joplis fan..being a teen back then and I LOVE this song!
  • Hype from Austin, TxThis song was release on the album Pearl (1971), as noted above. But Janis died in October of 1970. Just like the end of the song, "That's it" (with her little, laughing cackle at the end)

    What a legend!
  • Evajo from Yuma, AzIts amazing I made the code I had to type in. I scuba dive so I placed a fish on it with a note then I used 997 which stands for 997 palm street in Yuma Arizona. Their names are Hazel which is now living with me in Wahington State and my father which is with God Cecil Austin Tate. My parents lived at 995 and the rental next door was always designed for me to always have a home so I could take care of my mother. C stood for copyright and 1989 is the year I created the design. Hopefully soon this year mom and I will return to get the things she cherishes so she can be with us for good her family. Smiles Evajo......I love you
  • Nora from N/a, FlI CANT BELIEVE MERCEDES USED IT ! SHAME ! JANIS WAS CLEARLY NOT ABOUT EARTHLY POSSESIONS! SHE WAS JUST SAYING THAT YOU CAN OWN STUFF..BUT WONT MAKE YOU HAPPY AND IT WONT MAKE YOU A FULL PERSON !!!
  • Clare from Dallas, Vti love this song, because it makes a statemnt about how stupid materialism is by having this outragious wish from God. it's a very clever way of expressing that idea. also, her laugh at the end makes me smile. it's so sweet.
  • Marco from Juarez, Mexico(Lisa) Song had not been written when WOODSTOCK took place.......and was not played by Janis at WOODSTOCK!!!
  • Lisa from Swartz Creek, MiJanis Joplin is all time one of the best female rock stars to ever walk this earth when she played this song in 1969 at woodstock all 500,000 hippies, music lovers, and just some ordinary people all stood and went crazy for this song becuase it doesnt matter who you are what color you are what your gender is or even what your income is every can feel the same meaningn from this song.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThat song is called "With A Little Help From my Friends" and it was actually written and sung by the Beatles.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrA beautiful a capella. Janis Joplin is the best female artist (voice IS NOT everything).
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrThough I like Joe Cocker's version, that song belongs to The Beatles.
  • Angel from Delaware, OhLaura Joplin was NOT, in fact, Janis Joplin's STEP sister. They were REAL sisters. They, along with Mike, who is 10 years younger than Janis, all have the same mother and father. They are NO step siblings.
  • Murph from Peoria, IlFor those of you who disagreed with the tie in with the Car ad --- you're missing the great irony and humor of it. Mercedes' Marketing team didn't even pay attention to the song -- they just said "Hey -- we need to use this song because she says the name of our car, and then all the ex hippies will buy our car!" That boneheaded decision ended up making THEM look foolish for those of us who actually appreciate what the song means.

    In other words, Janis is probably laughing her head off right now....

    Murph
  • Caitlyn from Brooklyn And Long Island Ny, United StatesI always thought when she says "Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends" she is making reference to Joe Cocker's "Little Help from My Friends" song.

    Eh, just a thought. Janis was sucha a stron woman, she is greatly missed.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnI liked that a capella song! It was one of Janis Joplin's last songs before he untimely death. I also remember Dialing for Dollars. In the New York area in the mid 60s, the show would come on during a break in the movie and the at home contestant who got the count and amount right was a winner.
  • Joe from Vancouver, Canada, CanadaFor me, it has always been a goosbumps song. I make my bow for Janis. She will be alive in our memory for ever!
  • Barry from New York, NcThis song actually was performed live. At least two versions are in circulation, both during her final shows in August 1970. One is the 8/8/70 performance in Port Chester, and the other is 8/12/70 Harvard Stadium, which was her final concert.
  • Alex from Morninton, AustraliaThe Australian girl who sang on the Mercedes ad was at my school (some kind of motivational talk) and sang it for us, totally impromptu, standing in the middle of the three storey-high gym with no microphone. She filled the place with her amazing voice, it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.
  • Maria from Naples, Italy...One of the greatest song ever heard!!!
  • Jonathan from Oklahoma City, OkOne of the coolest songs ever recorded with no instuments!
  • Myrene from Papakura, New ZealandRock on Janis!
  • Kieran from Harlow, United StatesMercedez completely missed the point of this song. Janis Joplin is certainly not a whore for advertising like some artists.
  • Marcus from Ft. Worht, TxAbsolutely the Greatest Song by the Greatest singer ever to come from the Greatest State
  • Janis from Port Arthur, Txi WAS REALLY PISSED OFF by the advertisement.Actually the song is against materialism!
  • Abby from Huntsville, TxJanis Joplin all the way.
  • Tom from Mooresville, Ncwhich came 1st? Janis' version, or goose creeks' version?
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