Piece of My Heart

Piece of My Heart

"Piece of My Heart"
Single by Erma Franklin
B-side "Baby, What You Want Me to Do"
Released 1967
Format 7" single
Recorded 1967
Genre Soul
Length 2:35
Label Shout
Writer(s) Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns
Erma Franklin singles chronology
"Big Boss Man"
"Piece of My Heart"
"Open up Your Soul"

"Piece of My Heart" is a romantic love song written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns and originally recorded by Erma Franklin in 1967. The song came to greater mainstream attention when Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin on lead vocals) covered the song in 1968 and had a much bigger hit with it. The song has since been remade by several singers, including hit versions by Faith Hill in 1994 and Melissa Etheridge in 2005.

In 2004, the Big Brother and the Holding Company version of this song was ranked Number 353 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is also included among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.


  • Chart versions 1
    • Erma Franklin's original recording: 1967 1.1
    • Big Brother and the Holding Company version: 1968 1.2
      • Sales certifications 1.2.1
    • Notable cover versions 1.3
    • Faith Hill version: 1994 1.4
      • Chart positions 1.4.1
      • Year-end charts 1.4.2
    • Melissa Etheridge/Joss Stone version: 2005 1.5
    • Beverley Knight version: 2006 1.6
      • Track listings and formats 1.6.1
    • Charts 1.7
      • Personnel 1.7.1
  • Notes 2
  • External links 3

Chart versions

Erma Franklin's original recording: 1967

The original version of "Piece of My Heart" was recorded by Aretha Franklin's older sister Erma in 1967.[1] The song was a top ten R&B hit in the U.S., and also peaked at number sixty-two on the U.S. Pop Singles chart. In the UK, the single was re-released in 1992, due to a successful Levi's jeans commercial ("Cinderella" AKA "Night and Day" directed by Tarsem Singh), when it peaked inside the UK Singles Chart at number nine.

Big Brother and the Holding Company version: 1968

"Piece of My Heart"
Single by Big Brother and the Holding Company
from the album Cheap Thrills
Released 1968
Format 7" single
Genre Blues rock, psychedelic rock, acid rock
Length 4:15 (album), 2:43 (single)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns
Producer(s) John Simon

The song became a bigger pop hit when recorded by Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1968, with lead singer Janis Joplin.[2] The song was taken from the group's album Cheap Thrills, recorded in 1968 and released on Columbia Records. This rendition made it to number twelve on the U.S. pop chart. The song's instrumentation was arranged by Sam Andrew, who also performed three distorted, loud guitar solos giving the song a psychedelic touch.

Franklin said in an interview that when she first heard Joplin's version on the radio, she didn't recognize it because of the vocal arrangement.[3] Noted cultural writer blues conventions not to transcend pain, but "to scream it out of existence".[4]

Sales certifications

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[5] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Notable cover versions

A rock rendition of the song was recorded by Sammy Hagar, and included on his 1981 album, Standing Hampton. Released as a single, it hit #73 in the United States. New Zealand singer Jenny Morris covered the song in 1990, and it was a hit in Australia peaking at number twenty-four.

Faith Hill version: 1994

"Piece of My Heart"
Single by Faith Hill
from the album Take Me as I Am
B-side "I Would Be Stronger Than That"
Released January 13, 1994 [2]
Format CD single
Recorded 1993
Genre Country
Length 4:01
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns
Producer(s) Gary Burr
Faith Hill singles chronology
"Wild One"
"Piece of My Heart"
"But I Will"

Country artist Faith Hill included the song on her debut album, Take Me as I Am (1993). It was a number one hit for her in 1994. Hill's version took on a more passive tone coupled with traditional country instrumentation. Prior to recording the track, Hill had never heard Janis Joplin's rendition. Hill's producers refused to allow her to listen to the Joplin version until she had completed her own recording.

Hill re-recorded the track for the soundtrack to the TV series King of the Hill, released in 1998. This edgier version can also be found on the 1998 international pressing of her third album, Faith (re-titled "Love Will Always Win" outside the U.S.) and 2001 international greatest hits album There You'll Be. Her original version was included in her 2007 greatest hits album The Hits.

Chart positions

Chart (1994) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[6] 1
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[7] 15
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1994) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[9] 13
US Country Songs (Billboard)[10] 22

Melissa Etheridge/Joss Stone version: 2005

A live medley of this song with Janis Joplin & the Full Tilt Boogie Band's 1971 song "Cry Baby" became a hit duet for American rock singer Melissa Etheridge and English soul singer Joss Stone when it was released to iTunes Store after they performed it at the 47th Grammy Awards on February 13, 2005, in tribute to Joplin. The lively event reached number thirty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot Digital Tracks in April 2005. The performance also signaled Etheridge's first public return from her battle with breast cancer; appearing with her head bald from the effects of chemotherapy.[11] Etheridge also recorded a solo version of "Piece of My Heart" on her 2005 greatest hits album Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled.

"Piece of My Heart"
CD single cover
Single by Beverley Knight
from the album Voice - The Best of Beverley Knight
Released March 13, 2006
Format CD single, DVD single, 12" single, digital download
Recorded 2004
Genre R&B, soul
Length 4:17 (album version)
3:36 (radio edit)
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns
Producer(s) Jimmy Hogarth
Beverley Knight singles chronology
"Keep This Fire Burning"
"Piece of My Heart"
"No Man's Land"

Beverley Knight version: 2006

The most recent remake of "Piece of My Heart" to chart was by English soul singer Beverley Knight in 2006.

On her 2005 Affirmation Tour, Beverley performed the song to great critical acclaim and her fans along with Ronnie Wood, which encouraged her to make a studio recording of the song. Piece of My Heart was the lead single from her 2006 best-of compilation Voice - The Best of Beverley Knight.

It peaked inside the top ten of the UK radio airplay chart. The physical single was released on March 13, 2006. Due to a change in the UK chart rules which allowed singles to chart purely on downloads a week before their physical release, "Piece of My Heart" entered the UK chart at number ninety-three, becoming one of the first singles to do so. It ranked at number sixteen after its physical commercial release. It was her first single to be released as a DVD. It is her longest-running single to date on the UK Singles Chart, spending eleven weeks inside the top seventy-five. It was her thirteenth top forty entry and her seventh top twenty hit on the UK Singles Chart.

Track listings and formats

CD single
  1. "Piece of My Heart" (album version)
  2. "Keep This Fire Burning" (live)
DVD single
  1. "Piece of My Heart" (album version)
  2. "Let It Be" (live)
  3. "Come as You Are" (live)
  4. "Piece of My Heart" (video)
12" single
  1. "Piece of My Heart" (album version)
  2. "Made It Back" (featuring Redman) (original version)
Download-only versions
  • "Piece of My Heart" (radio edit)
  • "Piece of My Heart" (live)
  • "Piece of My Heart" (remix)


Chart Peak Position
UK Singles Chart 16


  • Written by Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy
  • Produced by Jimmy Hogarth
  • Engineered by Pom (Pierre-Olivier Magerand)
  • Mixed by Phillip Bodger
  • Lead vocals by Beverley Knight
  • Backing vocals by Bryan Chambers, Billie Godfrey, Louise Marshall
  • Wurlitzer & Hammond organ by Martin Slatterty
  • Bass by Sam Dixon
  • Drums by Jeremy Stacey
  • Guitars & percussion by Jimmy Hogarth


  1. ^ Cad, Saint. "Top 10 Famous Songs With Unknown Originals". listverse.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Erma Franklin
  4. ^ The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, "Janis Joplin". Random House, 1980
  5. ^ "American album certifications – Janis Joplin – Piece of My Heart".   If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  6. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2461." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. May 2, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  7. ^ "Faith Hill – Chart history" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Faith Hill.
  8. ^ "Faith Hill – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Faith Hill.
  9. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1994".  
  10. ^ "Best of 1994: Country Songs".  
  11. ^ ABC News: Melissa Etheridge Talks About Breast Cancer

External links

Preceded by
"If the Good Die Young"
by Tracy Lawrence
Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks
number-one single (Faith Hill version)

April 30, 1994
Succeeded by
"A Good Run of Bad Luck"
by Clint Black
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

May 2, 1994