Take It

This song ‘Piece of My Heart’ is about a lovelorn woman so enraptured by her man that she’s willing to break off yet another piece of her heart if only he will take it. Joplin showed off her extraordinary vocal dexterity on the song, which was right in her wheelhouse in terms of dynamics and subject matter.  Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns wrote this song.  Aretha Franklin’s younger sister Erma sang the original version and put it on the R&B charts in 1967.  Big Brother & the Holding Company quickly covered it and took it to #12 on the Hot 100.  Janis Joplin sang this at Woodstock in 1969 as part of her encore. This song appeared on Big Brother And The Holding Company  album ‘Cheap Thrills’, and it is ranked as #71 in the top 100 of all classic rock songs.  ‘Piece of My Heart’ shows the darker side of Janis and she drives this song home with her shouts of “Co-o-ome on, come on, COME ON, co-o-o-ome on!” as if ordering the listeners to assume the brace position for a crash landing.

Janis Joplin was a shooting star who burned white hot for five short years.  She lived and partied hard and she died of a heroin overdose at age 27.  Joplin sang her own brand of the blues in an incendiary style and her musical legacy still endures today, as in her short time between 1966 and 1970 she carved out a piece of music history that was distinctly her own. Not everyone loved Janis, as her stage antics and whiskey-swilling, and that devil-may-care attitude of hers put some people off.   They were convinced that she had a death wish and was killing herself slowly with each performance and each day’s excesses, but when she sang ‘Piece of My Heart’, the meaning really hit home. Like most women singers, Joplin did not write many songs, only seven and three more where she was the co-writer, but she interpreted the meanings from other people’s music and she did this so well that once she took on a song she owned it.  She made these songs her own in a way that few other singers dared to do.  Janis sang from her heart, she was a pioneer, one of the early women in rock-and-roll to go out and make it big time.

Oh, come on, come on, come on, come on!
Didn’t I make you feel like you were the only man yeah!
Didn’t I give you nearly everything that a woman possibly can?
Honey, you know I did!
And each time I tell myself that I, well I think I’ve had enough
But I’m gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough

I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it
Take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby!
Oh, oh, break it!
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh, oh, have a!
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby
You know you got it if it makes you feel good
Oh, yes indeed

You’re out on the streets looking good
And baby deep down in your heart I guess you know that it ain’t right
Never, never,…

You’re out on the streets looking good
And baby deep down in your heart I guess you know that it ain’t right
Never, never, never, never, never, never hear me when I cry at night
Babe, I cry all the time!
And each time I tell myself that I, well I can’t stand the pain
But when you hold me in your arms, I’ll sing it once again

I’ll say come on, come on, come on, come on and take it!
Take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby
Oh, oh, break it!
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah
Oh, oh, have a!
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby
You know you got it, child, if it makes you feel good

I need you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it
Take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby!
Oh, oh, break it!
Break another little bit of my heart, now darling, yeah, see’mon now
Oh, oh, have a
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby
You know you got it -whoahhhhh!!

Take it!
Take it! Take another little piece of my heart

Written for 5/13/18 Helen Vahdati’s This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time Song Lyric Sunday Theme where the prompt is “heart”.

18 thoughts on “Take It

  1. My wife and I recently saw a musical show about the life of Janis Joplin that included many of her songs, including, of course, this one. Her untimely death was a tragic loss to music. Good choice for this prompt, Jim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks and Janis sure had a lot of talent. Janis loved to listen to the blues and her early influences included blues singers like Bessie Smith, Odetta, Big Mama Thornton, Billie Holiday and Leadbelly. As her career progressed, she was influenced by Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Otis Redding.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Even though my Dad introduced me to the blues, I think it was people like Janis (sorry I spelled it wrong the first time I know the correct one 😉 ), Otis, Tina and others that really brought me to love it. There was a bar in the worst part of Vancouver that specialized in the Blues. Often some of the greats would come in unannounced and jam with whoever was on that night. It is gone now but I have fond memories.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this song, and pretty much all songs by Janis Joplin. Thanks for the extra information you provided. My little bit of information is that she basically got her start, developing her style of singing, while she also worked as a waitress at a restaurant called Threadgills, in Ausitn TX. My daughter and I have been there to eat, and see this historic landmark. The food there is delicious, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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