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Melissa Etheridge is a hero

I couldn’t stay away from the Grammy’s tonight. I managed to miss about 80% through hard work and diversion, but stumbled upon an amazing performance. I was channel surfing and saw the great Kris Kristofferson speaking. I knew something was up… so I stayed there. I quizzed my wife as to who that was. I gave her this hint ‘he wrote Janis Joplin’s biggest hit’, she figured out Kristofferson immediately after that… as we have several terrible versions of him doing it over the years.

So then he mentions a Janis tribute featuring Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge. Well, I stood up right there when he said that. I thought (and said to my wife) Melissa Etheridge? No way, since she announced having breast cancer she has pretty much disappeared from the spotlight. I completely understand, and didn’t expect to see her for a year or two. I have a sweet spot for her for many reasons, but chief among them is she was my first professional review. See here for that.

So I have wondered about how she is doing, because I am pretty obsessive in all aspects of music. I expected maybe a press release now and again, but she turned up and rocked tonight. The best part of it, to me, was she was bald! It took such courage for her to get up there without any hair (which I am assuming she has lost in Chemo treatment for cancer) and just tear it up. She looked great, she was full of expression and joy. She also was able to tell millions of cancer patients worldwide that it is ok to have cancer, and not to hide in shame.

Anyhow, I wish I could offer you more info on her… but it is scarce. I hope to god she is doing and feeling well, and that she comes out of this on top. If tonight was any indication, we’ll see her again before the year is out.

* oh, interesting and very relevant side note: for years Melissa was attached to play and sing as Janis Joplin in a huge Hollywood epic. I have been hearing about it for at least 5 years. Strangely, the project finally got a green light and the role of Janis was handed to pop singer Pink just this fall.

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  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Just saw a mini-interview with her on Entertainment Tonight. Melissa, side by side with her wife Tammy Lynn Michaels, announced that cancer treatments were successful and she’s ready to get back to work. Obviously, given the way she rocked the house last night. And you know what — I don’t think she ever looked more beautiful, even without the hair.

    I consider Melissa a hero too — for GLBT people, for all of those in differently structured families, and for those dealing with cancer. Etheridge rocks.

  • Eric Olsen

    I was momentarily shocked by the skin, then realized it was cancer-treatment related, then completely forgot about it as she really tore through the Janis and made Joss look merely pleasant and callow by comparison. Her scream gave me goose bumps – a career highlight. Good for her rocking ass, and super glad to hear about the treatment success!

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Just found out a little more info: Melissa has finished chemo; she is still undergoing radiation treatments.

  • Lise

    I thought the performance was AMAZING! I am a huge fan of Melissa and was glad to see her personality and talents return this past Sunday night. Any idea if the performance will ever be available for purchase? I have been searching the Internet and have not yet found a video clip or any reference to the possibility.

  • Bennett Dawson

    I walked into the room just as the tribute got under way and was pleased to hear Joss doing Janis’ song in Janis’ style. She did a credible job. BUT THEN MELISSA! WOW! What an amazing performance, and I too got goosebumps from the scream. I have also been searching for a dvd or cd of this great performance, true to Janis, by a fantastic artist. Melissa rocks on!

  • SFC SKI

    Melissa has such a great voice, I loved her first 2 albums, which I just rediscovered after 15 years or so. I hope to hear more of her rockin’ out in the future. Maybe some of her will rub off on Joss Stone, a girl with a great voice in search of material worth singing.

  • Eric Olsen

    material has always been ME’s weak point – it would be great to hear her fronting a rock band with some real writing

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    I thought her first two albums were good. The first one because it was new and interesting. The second one because it actually had some songs that were different from those on the first album.

    But since then, it seems like it’s been the same basic album over and over for her. All her songs sound the same to me now.

  • Eric Olsen

    “come to my window and give me some water”

  • dirt

    Joplin grammy tribute video Joss and Melissa:

    http://movies.ziaspace.com/Joplin.wmv

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks dirt, a second viewing reveals Joss to have been rather consistently flat throughout

  • patty

    I am sorry to say I missed the grammys. Is there any re-broadcasting on VH-1 or MTV that anyone knows about? Thanks!

  • Eric Olsen

    not that I know of, but you can at least see the Joplin tribute via the link in #10 above

  • http://www.poetryinlife.com/melissa_main/videostills/award_shows/grammy_2005/index.htm Becky

    There is an awsome website showing the performance at http://www.poetryinlife.com/melissa_main/videostills/award_shows/grammy_2005/index.htm

    Be sure and click on watch the performance!!! Man it was AWESOME!!!!!!

  • http://www.iamcorrect.blogspot.com Lono

    We just got word from her people on the health
    “she’s alright, she’s alright… it only hurts when she breathes”

    get it? No, I guess that was dumb but I couldn’t resist.

  • Rachel Gatland

    Thank you Melissa from a Cancer Sister, you have no idea how much you encouraged me and so many others, rock on !!!!!!

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    Lord, Joss could have just… kind of … gone… backstage when Etheridge took over. Totally outclassed and ‘out passioned’!

    What a fabuloussssssssssss performance. Go, Melissa! And you positively glowed, sparkled and beammmmed!!! Love you, girl!

    Thanks for the post and the subsequent video links.

  • dave

    i recently told someone about this performance and just had to renew my search for the video clip online
    thanx for the linx
    while i agree with most of the sentiments expressed here, i do want to ask that u spare a thought for Joss Stone
    being asked to sing one half of a joplin tribute with etheridge is like being asked to partner michelangelo in a painting exhibition and while i’m of the opinion that she’s a couple of broken hearts and a couple of broken bottles short of being able to cover Joplin, i still think she put up a credible performance
    i just wished they’d used Pink
    but that’s probably just me