18 Essential Songs

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18 Essential Songs
18 Essential Songs.jpg
Compilation album by Janis Joplin
Released January 24, 1995 (1995-01-24)
Recorded 1963–1970
Genre Rock
Length 69:39
Label Columbia
Producer Bob Irwin (compilation)
Janis Joplin chronology
This is Janis Joplin
18 Essential Songs
Live at Winterland '68

18 Essential Songs is a collection of songs recorded throughout Janis Joplin's career released in 1995 by Columbia Records. It included songs from her solo career as well as with Big Brother & the Holding Company. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it as gold on April 12, 1999.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]

AllMusic critic William Ruhlmann awarded the album 4.5 out of five stars and noted:

18 Essential Songs is a one-disc distillation of the triple-disc Janis box set. Running 70 minutes, it is a more extensive best-of than the ten-track 1973 Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits album, but it is denied "first pick" status because, unlike that album, it does not contain the hit version of Joplin's only number one single, "Me and Bobby McGee." (It does, however, contain an alternate demo version of that song.)[1]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Original album Length
1. "Trouble in Mind" Richard M. Jones demo (1963) 2:54
2. "Down on Me" traditional, arr. Janis Joplin Big Brother & the Holding Company 2:05
3. "Bye Bye Baby" Powell Saint John Big Brother & the Holding Company 2:38
4. "Ball and Chain" Big Mama Thornton recorded live 6/17/67 at Monterey Pop Festival 8:13
5. "Piece of My Heart" Bert Berns, Jerry Ragovoy Cheap Thrills 4:26
6. "I Need a Man to Love" Joplin, Sam Andrew Cheap Thrills 4:51
7. "Summertime" George, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward Alternate take. Original on Cheap Thrills 4:06
8. "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" Ragovoy, Chip Taylor I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! 3:56
9. "One Good Man" Joplin I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! 4:09
10. "Kozmic Blues" Joplin, Gabriel Mekler I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! 4:22
11. "Raise Your Hand" Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, Alvertis Isbell recorded live 3/16/69 on The Ed Sullivan Show 2:18
12. "Tell Mama" Clarence Carter, Marcus Daniel, Wilbur Terrell Farewell Song 5:47
13. "Move Over" Joplin Pearl 3:40
14. "Mercedes Benz" Joplin, Mike McClure, Bob Neuwirth Pearl 1:46
15. "Get It While You Can" Ragovoy, Mort Shuman Pearl 3:23
16. "Half Moon" Johanna Hall, John Hall Pearl 3:52
17. "Trust Me" Bobby Womack Pearl 3:15
18. "Me and Bobby McGee" Kris Kristofferson, Fred Foster Alternate mono demo. Original on Pearl 3:58
Total length: 69:39


Sales certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[2] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Janis Joplin: 18 Essential Songs – Album Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ "American album certifications – Janis Joplin – 18 Essential Songs". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]