On 21 April 1969, American rock icon Janis Joplin electrified English audiences at what would be her only headline solo concert in England, at the Royal Albert Hall.

With English rock band Yes supporting, Joplin gave a performance that would live in memory as one of the most exciting “happenings” of the 1960s countercultural era, as part of her European tour.

‘[Janis Joplin] made her first appearance in London, at the Albert Hall and the result was one of the most electrifying “happenings” since the first great international poetry reading in the same hall in June 1965.
Forget all you may have read or heard… Here in fact was the comfortingly embodied voice of love, pain, yearning, freedom and ecstatic experience, a fire that speaks from the heart of warm, rounded flesh.’
The Telegraph

Singing soul and rhythm and blues covers, as well as her own song Work Me, Lord, Joplin dispelled English reserve, rousing the crowd to their feet for the entirety of her hour long set, and leaving.

‘…she virtually turned the Albert Hall into a discoteque with her invitation to dance.’
Evening Standard

‘… her hour of belting, grinding vocalising against her soul-slanted backing group had created enough excitement and emotion to make the audience forget their inhibitions… They responded by dancing in the aisles, the boxes, and on the stage.’
New Musical Express

Get a taste of the concert may have sounded like, with our Janis Joplin at the Royal Albert Hall spotify playlist:

Although she had played England in the past with Big Brother & The Holding Company, this would be Joplin’s only trip to England as a solo artist before her death just a year later, on 4 October 1970.

Fifty years after 1967’s Summer of Love, explore the Royal Albert Hall’s role in this fascinating era of London’s cultural history as part of a major new season of events. Summer of Love: Revisited celebrates the counterculture movement with specially-selected talks, gigs and screenings about the music, poetry and politics of the period.