I want to start with this, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz”. Sounds like prayer doesn’t it?
Actually, “Mercedes Benz” is a song by Janis Joplin. The lyrics of the song seem like she is asking for plenty of materialistic things to fill her life with joy. However, the world was becoming more materialistic and the song was an attempt to mock that ideology.
Joplin belonged to the hippie era of the ’60s. Even as a teenager, she loathed the idea of girls wearing makeup and the fashion scene of that time. She wore guy’s shirts, always standing out from the crowd. Most of her friends were boys because of one uniting factor; love for the music of the same kind.
Janis began singing in bars and other local concerts with 2 of her friends who mostly performed together. Moreover, with her imposing and forceful style of signing, she pretty much surprised all the listeners.
She was studying art at the University of Texas at Austin. She dropped out of school to check out the music scene in San Francisco. Although, she became a successful singer in years to come but continued to struggle. She fought heroin addiction and died of an overdose at the age of 27.
“Won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” was loosely based on the first line of a poem by Michael McClure. Janis and her friend Bob Neuwirth took the portion of the poem and turned it into a song of their own.
She later called McClure to seek his approval and asked him to sing her version of the song. Apparently, he preferred his version, and Joplin liked hers. As a result, both renditions exist without any dispute.
Mercedes Benz – Song by Janis Joplin
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz,
While remembering Janis Joplin and playing her songs, this song came up taking me to a different zone altogether. For the most part, the song sounds like a genuine prayer. Hoping that her wish would be granted. On the other hand, it meant to bring our attention to a world that is going after worldly things.
We choose to believe that a fancy car, a big house, stylish clothes, and a lavish lifestyle would enrich our lives somehow. Of course, there is nothing wrong with possessing these things. Whereas, we need to find a way not to get possessed by such things and lift our soul’s spirit.
I’ll End It Here.
In the words of Janis Joplin, “It’s the want of something that gives you the blues. It’s not what isn’t, it’s what you wish was that makes unhappiness.”
In summary, let’s live our lives fruitfully and contribute to a better world. The current situation has brought one realization for sure that we can definitely live without fancy things but not without the basics and love.
Why don’t you listen to this original song? You will definitely fall in love because of the beauty of her voice.