April 2, 1970

On this day in 1970, Janis Joplin got her tattoos (years before it would become fashionable).

Joplin was tattooed by legendary artist Lyle Tuttle in his shop on Seventh Street in San Francisco.  She requested Tuttle to replicate a drawing she had done of a florentine bracelet design, he then inked the famous piece on Joplin’s outer wrist. The symbol stands for the liberation of women.

Joplin proudly wore her tattoos. “It was just a trip,” said Joplin, who happily discussed as well as displayed her tattoos for the San Francisco Chronicle and viewers of the Dick Cavett Show.

“I wanted some decoration. See, the one on my wrist is for everybody; the one on my tit is for me and my friends.” She paused and chuckled, “Just a little treat for the boys, like icing on the cake.”

Two days after her own experience, Joplin threw a party at her home, and Lyle was the chief attraction. This resulted in a number of her friends following suit. Tuttle stated in a Rolling Stone article that after Joplin’s death in October 1970, he tattooed replicas of the Janis’ heart on more than 100 young female fans.

Tuttle quickly became a close friend and was at Joplin’s home the afternoon of the day she died.


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