Piece of My Heart is a song written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns and originally recorded by Erma Franklin in 1967. The song came to greater mainstream attention when Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company covered the song in 1968 on their album Cheap Thrills and had a hit with it. The song has since been remade by several singers, including hit versions by Faith Hill in 1994 and Beverley Knight in 2006.
In 2004, the Big Brother and the Holding Company version of this song was ranked #344 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is also included among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
Franklin said in an interview that when she first heard Joplin's version on the radio, she didn't recognize it because of the vocal arrangement. Noted cultural writer Ellen Willis wrote of the difference: "When Franklin sings it, it is a challenge: no matter what you do to me, I will not let you destroy my ability to be human, to love. Joplin seems rather to be saying, surely if I keep taking this, if I keep setting an example of love and forgiveness, surely he has to understand, change, give me back what I have given". In such a way, Joplin used blues conventions not to transcend pain, but "to scream it out of existence".
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