Janice first performed this on August 8th, 1970 the same day she wrote it.
“I’m a victim of my own insides. There was a time when I wanted to know everything … It used to make me very unhappy, all that feeling. I just didn’t know what to do with it. But now I’ve learned to make that feeling work for me. I’m full of emotion and I want a release, and if you’re on stage and if it’s really working and you’ve got the audience with you, it’s a oneness you feel.” -Janice Joplin
I think she knew the sadness of wanting to know it all. She grew up much as I did. In the Midwest. Christian family. She probably started out with a Faith like mine, that God, not just any god, but the biblical God had it all sorted. He knew what we didn’t. He controlled what we could not. He could supply what we lacked, and could be trusted with our lives.
This song pokes a little fun at all that we once were before the world showed us differently. And before we realized the God of the Bible to be the Deadbeat Dad and absentee Father that He really is. There are still many who, like we did, still cry out in supplication and ‘with words that cannot be uttered’ for’help in their time of need’. But it seems silly now to me to ask for a Mercedes when halfway across the world, or even just downtown from me here in Arizona, people just need food, warm clothing and a roof for their families… yet have no answers.
Some of them, many of them here in Christian America, ‘Ask, Seek, and Knock’ from the same God and His Son, Jesus … but not to ‘consume upon their own lusts’, yet still have not the things they request and need. God seems to be more interested in parking places and lost sets of keys.
Maybe this is why Janice lived so freely and with such emotion. She realized there would be no Mercedes, color TV or night on the town coming from the skies. She realized the ‘oneness’ of humanity and the connection we all share with each other and the personal responsibility to ourselves and others around us to ‘give us our Daily Bread’.
She realized that no one Knows it All by themselves, not even that God she grew up with. We all ‘know in part’ and combine our parts with each other to know still not All, but more than we did before. She enjoyed life to the fullest and her concerts were a testimony to the unfettered “full tilt boogie” full of emotion and life. A life devoid now of meaningless and fruitless begging to a Biblical God who wasn’t there to answer. We are all we have. Humanity and connection and in Janice’s word… Oneness. Embrace it. Embrace not having to Know it All today. Recovery awaits.
It would be Janice’s 73rd Birthday on the 19th this month. She died in October of the same year she wrote and performed this song.