- NAME: Janis Joplin
- OCCUPATION: Singer
- BIRTH DATE: January 19, 1943
- DEATH DATE: October 04, 1970
- Did You Know?: The 1979 Bette Midler film The Rose is loosely based on Janis Joplin's life.
- Did You Know?: The hit single "Me and Bobby McGee," from the posthumous album Pearl, was written by Janis Joplin's former lover, Kris Kristofferson.
- Did You Know?: Janis Joplin made television appearances with Ed Sullivan, Dick Cavett and Tom Jones.
- Did You Know?: A stained-glass window in San Antonio's Hard Rock Cafe pays tribute to Janis Joplin.
- Did You Know?: The cover of Cheap Thrills, Big Brother's 1968 album, was designed by famed underground cartoonist R. Crumb.
- EDUCATION: Thomas Jefferson High School, Lamar State College of Technology, Port Arthur College, University of Texas at Austin
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Port Arthur, Texas
- PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California
- Full Name: Janis Lyn Joplin
- Nickname: First Lady of Rock 'n' Roll
- AKA: Janis Joplin
Best Known For
Singer Janis Joplin rose to fame in the late 1960s and was known for her powerful, blues-inspired vocals. She died of an accidental drug overdose in 1970.
Janis Joplin - Blues Woman (1:14)
Breaking new ground for women in rock music, Janis Joplin rose to fame in the late 1960s and was known for her powerful, blues-inspired vocals.
Watch a short video about famed singer Janis Joplin and the short but fully lived life she led.
Janis Joplin broke the mold of how women in rock and roll were expected to act and took the world of music by storm.
In the 1990's, Neil Young joined the grunge band Pearl Jam. Young was also a prime mover in Farm Aid and participated in the 9-11 fundraiser in New York.
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At the end of her first semester at Lamar, Joplin left the school. She went on to attend Port Arthur College, where she took some secretarial courses, before moving to Los Angeles in the summer of 1961. This first effort to break away from wasn't a success, however, and Joplin thus returned to Port Arthur for a time.
In the summer of 1962, Joplin fled to the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied art. In Austin,
Joplin began performing at folksings—casual musical gatherings where anyone can perform—on campus and at Threadgill's, a gas station turned bar, with the Waller Creek Boys, a musical trio with whom she was friends. With her forceful, gutsy singing style, Joplin amazed many audience members. She was unlike any other white female vocalist at the time (folk icons like Joan Baez and Judy Collins were known for their gentle sound).
In January 1963, Joplin ditched school to check out the emerging music scene in San Francisco with friend Chet Helms. But this stint out west, like her first, proved to be unsuccessful, as Joplin struggled to make it as a singer in the Bay Area. She played some gigs, including a side-stage performance at the 1963 Monterey Folk Festival—but her career didn't gain much traction. Joplin then spent some time in New York City, where she hoped to have better luck getting her career off the ground, but her drinking and drug use (she'd begun regularly using speed, or amphetamine, among other drugs) there proved to be detrimental to her musical aspirations. In 1965, she left San Francisco and returned home in an effort to get herself together again.
Back in Texas, Joplin took a break from her music and her hard-partying lifestyle, and dressed conservatively, putting her long, often messy hair into a bun and doing everything else she could to appear straight-laced. But the conventional life was not for her, and her desire to pursue her musical dreams wouldn't remain submerged for long.
Joplin slowly returned to performing, and in May 1966, was recruited by friend Travis Rivers to audition for a new psychedelic rock band based in San Francisco, Big Brother and the Holding Company. At the time, the group was managed by another longtime friend of Joplin's, Chet Helms. Big Brother, whose members included James Gurley, Dave Getz, Peter Albin and Sam Andrew, was part of the burgeoning San Francisco music scene of the late 1960s; among the other bands involved in this scene were the Grateful Dead.
Joplin blew the band away during her audition, and was quickly offered membership into the group. In her early days with Big Brother, she sang only a few songs and played the tambourine in the background. But it wasn't long before Joplin assumed a bigger role in the band, as Big Brother developed quite a following in the Bay Area. Their appearance at the now legendary Monterey Pop Festival in 1967—specifically their version of "Ball and Chain" (originally made famous by R&B legend Big Mama Thornton) brought the group further acclaim.
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American society experienced a revolution in the late 1960s and early 70s, especially for African-Americans and women. Janis Joplin was the finest white blues singer of her generation; female singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell shared their innermost thoughts and feelings; Aretha Franklin emerged as the Queen of Soul; and Bonnie Raitt established herself as both a strong vocalist and a brilliant guitarist. Through their music, the women of this era created the soundtrack of social progress.
Influential Female Musicians of the 1960s 17 people in this group
The 27 club is a group of artists who died tragically at the young age of 27. They were some of the most talented minds of their generation, and in their short lives each made an enormous impact. Sadly, many led hard-partying lifestyles, abusing drugs and alcohol. These are the musicians and artists who make up the 27 club.
The 27 Club 8 people in this group
presented by The 27 Club
Woodstock, the legendary 1969 music festival, changed the history of rock and roll. For three days on a 600-acre dairy farm in the Castkills of New York, 32 performers put on one of the biggest rock shows of all time in front of 500,000 fans. Here are some of the famous musicians who were part of Woodstock history.
Woodstock Performers 23 people in this group