Sep 182010

What if founding “27 Club” members Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison lived long enough to each make a celebrated comeback album? Let’s say they went through the standard cylce of rock bottom, rehabilitation, humility and self-awareness, and finally a well-crafted, highly acclaimed comeback album produced by the likes of Rick Rubin and T-Bone Burnett. What would these comeback albums sound like? Who would produce each one? What guest star would be featured on the lead single?

Bonus question: What instrument would Brian Jones be featured playing on Kurt Cobain‘s comeback album?


  16 Responses to “What if…Janis, Jimi, and Jim Lived Long Enough to Make Comeback Albums”

  1. hrrundivbakshi

    Not sure I have the time at the moment to answer your probing question. Just wanted to sand along MADDDD PROPS for that photo.

  2. Mr. Moderator

    Take all the time you need. I know it’s a deep question. I was thrilled to find that photo. I never knew they’d ever been photographed all together.

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    Is it a cast photo from a pre-Broadway run of “Rent”?

  4. that photo is AWFUL.
    but not as awful as:
    Janis’ comeback album in the mid 90s. It is a duets album with the Black Crowes.

    Jim Morrisson, inspired by the gangsta sounds of his beloved L.A. returns from the literary life in Paris also in 1995, to record a rap/jazz/poetry album with Dr. Dre and the sycophantic Ray Manzerik.

    Jimi can’t record a comeback album, because he never leaves. He does however, record some real stinkers (just like Dylan) throughout his long, influential, career. Some notable examples are his stint as replacement guitarist for the Chilli Peppers during one of Fruciante’s breaks from the band.
    The ill-fated “3 Heros” album, a “guitar fight” with Frank Zappa and Carlos Santana, is an embarrasment to all involved. None however, are as awful as his attempt to rock the top 40 with his Live Aid era album produced by Phil Collins.
    That drum sound. ugh.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    KILROY HAS SET THE BAR HIGH! BRAVO, TOWNSMAN! Morrison’s gangsta rap album is much funnier than the prank Joaquin Pheonix tried to pull.

  6. Brian Jones plays mellotron on Kurt’s psychadelic folk comeback…duh.

  7. jeangray

    What??????????? Someone doesn’t like Phil Collins drum sound??????

    For shame!

  8. Joplin would record and tour with PJ Harvey on guitar and backing vocals. Bonus cover of “50 Ft. Queenie.”

    Hendrix would make a country record with Johnny Cash, called Aquarius Skyline.

    Morrison would do a concept record based on Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night produced/backed by the Flaming Lips.

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    Maybe Joplin is really Natalie Merchant.

  10. I wouldn’t have such high standards for these folks. Perhaps only Jimi might break through with something really ggod. BUt that’s a perhaps.

    I see Janis using some like Rob Thomas or maybe go a little hipper with Jack White. I really see it being a pop/rock MOR affair, though. A Jack Whote-produced Janis LP sounds intriguing.

    Morrison might go the rap route, but I think he’d being trying to front some metal type band. Oh, wait. He did. They were called The Cult.

    Hendrix would possibly make the best of these comebacks. Maybe the Rick Rubin or Daniel Lanois record. But it’s more probable he’d be making records like Santana. The Clive Davis-driven collection of duets and hits. His sounds the most promising of the three.

    I just don’t have high hopes for any of these three artists to be the gods they were during their time. They would probably just be irrelevent like most of their peers who did live. does anybody care about recent Clapton records?


  11. does anybody care about recent Clapton records?

    i hear ya buddy. the answer is no and recent is anything after 1968

  12. Mr. Moderator

    I doubt that even Clapton cares about recent Clapton records. I was thinking along the lines of the Robert Plant-Allison Krauss album or those Johnny Cash albums with Rick Rubin – or even Gary “US” Bonds’ comeback album with The Boss producting – in terms of possible half-decent comeback albums.

    Optimistically, Janis’ surprisingly classy comeback album would be in the country-blues vein of “Me and Bobby McGee.” Kris Kristoferson would even collaboratate on a follow-up to her swan song hit, exploring another word for “everything’s been lost.” I am tempted to steal TB’s production choice of Jack White, but I’ll be fair and go with my initial thought, the guy who used to ride shotgun with Lucinda Williams. Is his name Gurf Morlix, or something like that?

    No amount of optimism can help me save Jim Morrison’s comeback album. Jimbo would be backed by Pearl Jam, dueting with Eddie Vedder on the opening track a la that Temple of the Dog wail-off in tribute to the OD’d Mother Love Bone singer. Bono would find an opportunity to guest on the closing number, a somber acoustic lament along the lines of Townsman chickenfrank’s film-killing Vedder soundtrack for Into the Wild.

    Jimi’s comeback album, following what turned out to be a staged death to avoid the coming downturn of the ’70s, would actually be his second attempt, the first being an aborted collaboration with The Roots and that Wu-Tang Clan guy, RZA. Production on that album would have come to a halt when Dave Chappelle showed up to take Jimi out on the town for a 3-week long binge. In the meantime, The Roots would be called back to their groundbreaking work on the set of Jimmy Fallon’s show and RZA would be booked to do the soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s new verite film on a day in the life of a tailor shop. A bit bewildered from his jaunt with Chappelle, Jimi would return to the studio to find believed-to-be posthumous producer extraordinaire Alan Douglas and a collection of studio cats, including drummer Steve Jordan, guitarist Bern Nix, and the Sexiest Man in Prog, bassist John Wetton, waiting to run through an entirely new set of jams. The resulting album, The Chappelle Show: The Lost Episodes, would be a smash hit albeit a severe disappointment for younger audiences expecting the return of their comic hero, Dave Chappelle.

  13. alexmagic

    The upshot of Morrison living and having a well-meaning but mostly embarrassed Wu Tang Clan trying to help him make a comeback album is that Manzarek – not possessed by Morrison’s Ghost in this reality – would have become a sidekick to Ol Dirty Bastard and would have spent the last six years spreading ODB’s message that Wu Tang (and, to a lesser extent, the Doors) were for the children. Also, he possibly renames himself Little Baby Jesus in 1998.

    Any thoughts of a Joplin comeback album run into the problem of almost certainly not having a voice by the time the ’90s hit. I can see her replacing Marianne Faithful’s cameo in that one Metallica video, though. Maybe Metallica brings her out for a few shows here and there, and Lars tries to get something going with her.

    The idea of a late 90s Hendrix putting out anything close to those lousy Santana albums pains me. I’d hope he would just get into doing weird soundtrack albums and writing unproduced sci-fi movie scripts.

    Ever the avant-garde mastermind, Paul McCartney was the first to die in his mid-late 20s and still stick around to put out successful posthumous albums years later. 2Pac was heavily influnced by Paul in this area.

  14. Morrison sings/recite the sacred texts of the Bible over trance like electronic beats. Individual tracks are produced by various producers. He is rumoured to have found religion but the follow up release of him singing/reciting Koran texts causes much backlash and eventually he is shot to death. Ray Manzerek then equates this as the ultimate martyrdom and declares (along with Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine) that Jim was the second coming of Jesus and starts a church.

    Janis is forgotten for years. last seen singing back-up with Buster Poindexter. David Johansen later produces her comeback album as they tear thru the Harry Smith catalog.

    Jimi joins the Residents

  15. hrrundivbakshi

    Janis — makes a fortune singing for TV commercials. Her big “comeback” is the brainchild of an exec at McCann-Erickson who gets her together with fellow ad soundtrack “artists” Richie Havens, Joe Cocker and Aaron Neville. This is, of course, an album that *could* work, in the right hands. But McCann-Erickson guy points them in the direction of a TV producer who knows “all the right people,” and they end up with the guy that produced the last Sarah McGlacghlan LP, and the result sucks the bad part of my ass.

    Morrison vanishes for 30 years before re-appearing at the 2008 MTV Music Awards — looking surprisingly good, actually. Rumors swirl: botox? Rare jungle herb tonics? Shamanism? Morrison reveals all in a self-help book entitled “Nurse Your Dragon” — a weird, rambling tract that preaches self-love (Jim means it *literally*… eww), abstention from starch, caffeine and “pitted fruits,” and a truly incomprehensible thing he calls one’s “chakra-dragon-breath.” He wins the 2009 season of “Dancing With the Stars” and is seen with Demi Moore.

    Jimi almost burned out after spending too much time with, first, the P-Funk universe in the 70s; and then, Sly in his recluse 1980s. But where Sly kind of lost his marbles, Jimi sobered up and had a creative second birth, thanks largely to John Hammond, at whose Woodstock estate Jimi spent the better part of three years, eating “pure foods” and recording non-stop. In 1989, Hendrix released the triple-LP “Jupiter’s Children,” a legitimate tour-de-force of jazz-funk — out of step wit the times, perhaps, but an astonishing document nonetheless. Self-produced, self-penned, and featuring an amazing supporting cast of refugees from Miles Davis’ jazz/funk/rock bands of the 70s, the critics fall all over themselves to praise it. It bombs. Unfazed, Jimi returns to the studio — this time, seemingly, for good. Each year, rumors swirl about his new “masterpiece” being released, and each year, fans’ hopes are dashed.

  16. Jimi’s comeback record would be with Living Colour as his band and produced by Wyclef Jean.

    Jim Morrison would do a Sinatra-like Duets record where he was not in the room with any of the guest singers (Ian Asbury, Bono, Josh Stone,Sting, Santana)

    Janice would go Alt-Country, but in a safe coffehouse Rick Ruben PBS radio kinda way. I’d go The Jayhawks as her back-up band for this.

    All would go #1 dispite selling less than 15,000 copies, thanks to a music industry that sold FEWER records due to these three living, and therefore killing their back catalog sales.

    …and Kid Rock would sing with ALL of them on crappy TV award shows

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