Janis Joplin & Tom Jones Bring the House Down in an Unlikely Duet of “Raise Your Hand” (1969)

If you’re a fan of Tom Jones and you don’t care who knows it, then no one needs to jus­ti­fy the jovial Welsh superstar’s lounge-soul cov­ers of pop, R&B, and rock songs to you. Cer­tain purists have been a tougher sell on Jones’ act, includ­ing, in 1969, Neil Young, who joined Jones onstage once, and only once, on the This is Tom Jones show and imme­di­ate­ly regret­ted it. But who cares about Neil Young’s cranky dis­like of com­mer­cial tele­vi­sion? Who is Neil Young to say we can’t enjoy Jones’ brava­do vocals on Cros­by, Stills, Nash & some­times Young’s “Long Time Gone”? The audi­ence sure got a kick out of it, as appar­ent­ly did the rest of the band.

Janis Joplin didn’t have any such hangups when she went on Jones’ show that same year. Well, she had a hangup, but it wasn’t Jones. “God bless her,” Jones remem­bered, “she said to me when she came on, ‘Look, I don’t do vari­ety shows; I’m only doing it because it’s you.’ So she saw through it. Then when Janis and I did the rehearsal for Raise Your Hand she looked at me and said, ‘Jesus, you can real­ly sing! (laughs) I thought, thank God peo­ple like Janis Joplin had tak­en note.” If she out­shines Jones in the tele­vised per­for­mance of the song, above, and I think we can agree she does, he doesn’t seem to mind it much.

Jones may not have had much rock cred; he would nev­er have been invit­ed to share the Wood­stock stage with CSNY and Joplin, but as a singer, he’s always earned tremen­dous respect from every­one, and right­ly so.

“Tom held his own,” writes Soci­ety of Rock, “and kept up beau­ti­ful­ly as he was swept up in the storm that was Janis Joplin’s stage pres­ence, trad­ing ver­bal licks and send­ing her into fits of joy when he let go and sur­ren­dered to her over­whelm­ing ener­gy. This wasn’t just your reg­u­lar, run of the mill vari­ety show but then again, noth­ing was ordi­nary after Janis was through with it.”

This includes any stage that had her on it, which she imme­di­ate­ly dom­i­nat­ed as soon as she opened her mouth. Hear her live ver­sion of “Raise Your Hand” at Wood­stock from ear­li­er that year, fur­ther up, and see her tear it up in Frank­furt on her Euro­pean tour with the Kozmic Blues Band. “I make it a pol­i­cy not to tell any­one to sit down,” she says by way of intro­duc­tion. “That’s to encour­age every­body to stand up.” Joplin’s death the fol­low­ing year deprived the world of one of its all-time great­est blues singers, but thanks to the inter­net, and Tom Jones, we’ll always have per­for­mances like these to remem­ber her by.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Tom Jones Per­forms “Long Time Gone” with Cros­by, Stills, Nash & Young–and Blows the Band & Audi­ence Away (1969)

Watch Janis Joplin’s Final Inter­view Get Reborn as an Ani­mat­ed Car­toon

Janis Joplin’s Last TV Per­for­mance & Inter­view: The Dick Cavett Show (1970)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (12)
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  • Richard Reynolds says:

    Thanks I liked her raspy voice and Wild funky sounds back in the day. 75 now but her vibe still makes me wan­na shake a leg !!! Tom Jones also, and Joe Cock­er 💥

  • Bernd Miethe says:

    Nur ein Bein schüt­teln, Herr Reynolds?

    Bei mir schle­icht sich bei Janis’ Wahnsinns-Stimme regelmäßig ‘ne Träne in’s Auge…

  • Cathy Donovan says:

    Love Tom Jones And Janis Joplin great arti­cle thank you The young peo­ple dont know what they missed

  • Nuria says:

    La Janis es un dels meus idols 😍 grà­cies pels vostres vídeos 🙏

    Janis is one of my idols 😍 thanks for your videos 🙏

  • Angie Wall says:

    Those who have expe­ri­enced Tom Jones in per­son know what a pow­er­ful singer he is, even now at 80. His voice can rock all gen­res of music. His vocal range is amaz­ing, and he always deliv­ers with emo­tion, nuance, and ener­gy. On his tv hit show he sang with some of the best, includ­ing Janis, and he adjust­ed his style and voice to seam­less­ly fit with that artist. He is THE LEGEND, THE VOICE in my book — for almost 60 years!

  • Marie O. says:

    Being a 60’S person,l saw Janis Joplin LIVE
    In San Fran­cis­co. She total­ly and ROYALLY
    rocked the stage, bot­tle of whiskey and all!

  • Annie smythe says:

    Thanky­ou for that… so ener­gis­ing. In my 70’s now but it trans­ports me back to naughty days and nights and hap­py times when we took our liberty/freedom for grant­ed. I am grate­ful for hav­ing lived my life through the 60’s and 70’s and wish the young now could have half as much hap­pi­ness and fun.… xxxxan­nie

  • Danny Strunk says:

    Actu­al­ly Tom Jones first love was blues. He was on the ground floor of the British blues revival but life changed his course.The cool thing about his show was he con­trolled the musi­cal guest selec­tion and always had some­one great on, always top shelf back in the day, Ray Charles, Ste­vie Won­der, Janis

  • Jon Mcpeak says:


  • Jane says:

    Tom Jones should be in the Hall of Rock and Roll. Icon­ic gold­en voice. So many tru­ly fan­tas­tic duets.

  • Jade Donato says:

    I was f ing for­tu­nate enough to see her at The Aval­on Ball­room in the city when l was 12 years.l was with my favorite cousin and her friends that did­n’t treat me like a twit.She was f ing amaz­ing as she is still now.Years lat­er l l met the fam­i­ly dog Chet Helms when l I lived in Marin.l don’t remem­ber remem­ber pay­ing to get into Aval­on Ball­room.

  • Marie says:

    Omg that’s soooo cool! Sick 😍🙏🏻🥳 our daugh­ter lives in San Fran­cis­co and every­where she’s lived. Remind me at 863 of all the music my old­er broth­ers and sis­ters lis­ten to grow­ing up! 😉🙏🏻🥳 thanks for shar­ing xx

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