Jan. 19, 2012 at 1:46 PM ET
Janis Joplin would have turned 69 today. Jim Morrison would have just blown out 68 candles, and Jimi Hendrix would be staring down 70 come November.
Rolling Stone links to this photo of Joplin on their cover in August 1970. She looks as real as her lyrics. You wouldn't see a face this normal on Rolling Stone's cover today -- it seems a part of being a musician, at least a female one, is to be nipped and tucked and brushed and curled and made up till your album cover runs the risk of being confused with a fashion magazine.
Joplin wasn't like that, and it's one of the many reasons her talents and personality are so missed.
And also: It's one thing to write a birthday post about someone who's still with us (hello, Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White). But remembering someone who died so young is different. You can't help but wonder what their life would have brought had they lived.
Not just Joplin, Morrison and Hendrix, but John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, and so many others.
Where would their talents have brought them? Who would they have touched? What musical memories would we now be carrying in our hearts alongside the hits they had time to give us?
Here are a few of Joplin's hits.
"Me and Bobby McGee"
"Piece of My Heart"
What's your favorite Joplin song? Tell us on Facebook.