18 Essential Songs

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18 Essential Songs
Compilation album by Janis Joplin
ReleasedJanuary 24, 1995 (1995-01-24)
ProducerBob Irwin (compilation)
Janis Joplin chronology
This is Janis Joplin
18 Essential Songs
Live at Winterland '68

18 Essential Songs is a collection of songs recorded throughout Janis Joplin's career released in 1995 by Columbia Records. It included songs from her solo career as well as with Big Brother & the Holding Company. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it as gold on April 12, 1999.


Professional ratings
Review scores

AllMusic critic William Ruhlmann awarded the album 4.5 out of five stars and noted:

18 Essential Songs is a one-disc distillation of the triple-disc Janis box set. Running 70 minutes, it is a more extensive best-of than the ten-track 1973 Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits album. But it is denied "first pick" status because, unlike that album, it does not contain the hit version of Joplin's only number one single, "Me and Bobby McGee." (It does, however, contain an alternate demo version of that song.)

Track listing

No.TitleWriter(s)Original albumLength
1."Trouble in Mind"Richard M. Jonesdemo (1963)2:54
2."Down on Me"traditional, arr. Janis JoplinBig Brother & the Holding Company2:05
3."Bye Bye Baby"Powell Saint JohnBig Brother & the Holding Company2:38
4."Ball and Chain"Big Mama Thorntonrecorded live 6/17/67 at Monterey Pop Festival8:13
5."Piece of My Heart"Bert Berns, Jerry RagovoyCheap Thrills4:26
6."I Need a Man to Love"Joplin, Sam AndrewCheap Thrills4:51
7."Summertime"George, Ira Gershwin, DuBose HeywardAlternate take. Original on Cheap Thrills4:06
8."Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)"Ragovoy, Chip TaylorI Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!3:56
9."One Good Man"JoplinI Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!4:09
10."Kozmic Blues"Joplin, Gabriel MeklerI Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!4:22
11."Raise Your Hand"Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, Alvertis Isbellrecorded live 3/16/69 on The Ed Sullivan Show2:18
12."Tell Mama"Clarence Carter, Marcus Daniel, Wilbur TerrellFarewell Song5:47
13."Move Over"JoplinPearl3:40
14."Mercedes Benz"Joplin, Mike McClure, Bob NeuwirthPearl1:46
15."Get It While You Can"Ragovoy, Mort ShumanPearl3:23
16."Half Moon"Johanna Hall, John HallPearl3:52
17."Trust Me"Bobby WomackPearl3:15
18."Me and Bobby McGee"Kris Kristofferson, Fred FosterAlternate mono demo. Original on Pearl3:58
Total length:69:39


Sales certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ) Gold 7,500^
United States (RIAA) Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Janis Joplin: 18 Essential Songs – Album Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  2. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Janis Joplin – 18 Essential Songs". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  3. ^ "American album certifications – Janis Joplin – 18 Essential Songs". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 3 June 2019.