Piece of My Heart

"Piece of My Heart"
Single by Erma Franklin
B-side "Baby, What You Want Me to Do"
Released 1967
Format 7" single
Recorded 1967
Genre Soul
Length 2:35
Label Shout
Writer(s) Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns
Erma Franklin singles chronology
"Big Boss Man"
"Piece of My Heart"
"Open up Your Soul"

"Piece of My Heart" is a romantic love song written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns and originally recorded by Erma Franklin in 1967. The song came to greater mainstream attention when Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin on lead vocals) covered the song in 1968 and had a much bigger hit with it. The song has since been remade by several singers, including Dusty Springfield on her 1968 album Dusty... Definitely, with hit versions by Faith Hill in 1994 and by Melissa Etheridge in 2005.

In 2004 the Big Brother and the Holding Company version of this song was ranked Number 353 on Rolling Stone's 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.

Chart versions

Erma Franklin's original recording: 1967

The original version of "Piece of My Heart" was recorded by Aretha Franklin's older sister Erma in 1967 for producer Bert Berns' Shout label.[1] The song reached # 10 on the R&B charts in the U.S.,[2] and also peaked at number sixty-two on the U.S. Pop Singles chart. In the UK, the single was re-released in 1992, due to a successful Levi's jeans commercial ("Cinderella" AKA "Night and Day" directed by Tarsem Singh), when it peaked inside the UK Singles Chart at number nine.

Big Brother and the Holding Company version: 1968

"Piece of My Heart"

Cover of the 1968 Dutch single
Single by Big Brother and the Holding Company
from the album Cheap Thrills
B-side "Turtle Blues"
Released August 1968 (1968-08)
Format 7-inch single
Recorded March 2 – May 20, 1968
Length 2:43
Label Columbia
  • Jerry Ragovoy
  • Bert Berns
Producer(s) John Simon


The song became a bigger pop hit when recorded by Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1968, with lead singer Janis Joplin.[5] The song was taken from the group's album Cheap Thrills, recorded in 1968 and released on Columbia Records. This rendition made it to number twelve on the U.S. pop chart. The song's instrumentation was arranged by Sam Andrew, who also performed three distorted, loud guitar solos giving the song a psychedelic touch.

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.[6] 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".[7]

Sales certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[8] Gold 500,000^

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

Faith Hill version: 1994

"Piece of My Heart"
Single by Faith Hill
from the album Take Me as I Am
B-side "I Would Be Stronger Than That"
Released January 13, 1994[9]
Format CD single
Recorded 1993
Genre Country
Length 4:01
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns
Producer(s) Gary Burr
Faith Hill singles chronology
"Wild One"
"Piece of My Heart"
"But I Will"


Country artist Faith Hill included the song on her debut album, Take Me as I Am (1993). It was a number one hit for her in 1994. Hill's version took on a more passive tone coupled with traditional country instrumentation. Prior to recording the track, Hill had never heard Janis Joplin's rendition. Hill's producers refused to allow her to listen to the Joplin version until she had completed her own recording.

Hill re-recorded the track for the soundtrack to the TV series King of the Hill, released in 1998. This edgier version can also be found on the 1998 international pressing of her third album, Faith (re-titled "Love Will Always Win" outside the U.S.) and 2001 international greatest hits album There You'll Be. Her original version was included in her 2007 greatest hits album The Hits.

Chart positions

Chart (1994) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[10] 1
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[11] 15
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[12] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1994) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[13] 13
US Country Songs (Billboard)[14] 22

Melissa Etheridge/Joss Stone version: 2005

A live medley of this song with Janis Joplin & the Full Tilt Boogie Band's 1971 song "Cry Baby" became a hit duet for American rock singer Melissa Etheridge and English soul singer Joss Stone when it was released to iTunes Store after they performed it at the 47th Grammy Awards on February 13, 2005, in tribute to Joplin. The lively event reached number thirty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot Digital Tracks in April 2005. The performance also signaled Etheridge's first public return from her battle with breast cancer; appearing with her head bald from the effects of chemotherapy.[15] Etheridge also recorded a solo version of "Piece of My Heart" on her 2005 greatest hits album Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled.

"Piece of My Heart"

CD single cover
Single by Beverley Knight
from the album Voice - The Best of Beverley Knight
Released March 13, 2006
Format CD single, DVD single, 12" single, digital download
Recorded 2004
Genre R&B, soul
Length 4:17 (album version)
3:36 (radio edit)
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns
Producer(s) Jimmy Hogarth
Beverley Knight singles chronology
"Keep This Fire Burning"
"Piece of My Heart"
"No Man's Land"

Beverley Knight version: 2006


The most recent remake of "Piece of My Heart" to chart was by English soul singer Beverley Knight in 2006.

On her 2005 Affirmation Tour, Beverley performed the song to great critical acclaim and her fans along with Ronnie Wood, which encouraged her to make a studio recording of the song. Piece of My Heart was the lead single from her 2006 best-of compilation Voice - The Best of Beverley Knight. It peaked inside the top ten of the UK radio airplay chart. The physical single was released on March 13, 2006. Due to a change in the UK chart rules which allowed singles to chart purely on downloads a week before their physical release, "Piece of My Heart" entered the UK chart at number ninety-three, becoming one of the first singles to do so. It ranked at number sixteen after its physical commercial release. It was her first single to be released as a DVD. It is her longest-running single to date on the UK Singles Chart, spending eleven weeks inside the top seventy-five. It was her thirteenth top forty entry and her seventh top twenty hit on the UK Singles Chart.

Other Versions

The song appeared on "Home," the debut album of Delaney & Bonnie, released in 1969, with Bonnie Bramlett on lead vocals and backing musicians including Booker T. & the MGs.

The song was featured in an episode of Parenthood (2010 TV series) offering some music history in the process. Guest star CeeLo Green and band were portrayed recording 2 versions as part of a tribute to co-composer Ragovoy who had recently died. The musicians returned to the studio (owned by 2 of the show's main characters) because Green said he realized he wasn't doing the song justice by trying the emulate Janis Joplin's arrangement, and choosing to record a more soulful rendition in the style of Erma Franklin.

Track listings and formats

CD single
  1. "Piece of My Heart" (album version)
  2. "Keep This Fire Burning" (live)
DVD single
  1. "Piece of My Heart" (album version)
  2. "Let It Be" (live)
  3. "Come as You Are" (live)
  4. "Piece of My Heart" (video)
12" single
  1. "Piece of My Heart" (album version)
  2. "Made It Back" (featuring Redman) (original version)
Download-only versions


Chart Peak Position
UK Singles Chart 16


Other notable cover versions


  1. Cad, Saint. "Top 10 Famous Songs With Unknown Originals". listverse.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  2. Whitburn, Joel, The Billboard Book of TOP 40 R&B and Hip Hop Hits, Billboard Books, New York 2006
  3. "The Janis and Tupac Show". Hits. February 27, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  4. Nick Talevski (7 April 2010). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-85712-117-2.
  5. Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 52 - The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 8] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.
  6. "Erma Franklin". Bluesmusicnow.com. 1990-06-28. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  7. The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, "Janis Joplin". Random House, 1980
  8. "American album certifications – Janis Joplin – Piece of My Heart". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  9. Faith Hill. "Piece of My Heart - Amazon.com Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  10. "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2461." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. May 2, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  11. "Faith Hill – Chart history" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Faith Hill.
  12. "Faith Hill – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Faith Hill.
  13. "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1994". RPM. December 12, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  14. "Best of 1994: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  15. "Melissa Etheridge Talks About Breast Cancer - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2005-10-19. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
Preceded by
"If the Good Die Young"
by Tracy Lawrence
Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks
number-one single (Faith Hill version)

April 30, 1994
Succeeded by
"A Good Run of Bad Luck"
by Clint Black
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

May 2, 1994
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/27/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.