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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)
Grace Slick - Mini Biography (2:11)
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.
Grace Slick is a former model and a rock singer and songwriter who is best known for being the lead singer in Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship.
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John Simon served as the producer on the project and had the band do take after take trying to get songs down technically perfect. The band, however, was used to playing live in a sloppy style. Joplin reportedly felt like the group was beginning to hold her back professionally. Soon after its August 1968 release,
the album was a certified gold record. It featured "Piece of My Heart" and "Summertime." These songs helped cement Joplin's reputation as a unique and dynamic bluesy rock singer. The cover album had been designed by famed underground cartoonist R. Crumb.
Joplin struggled with her decision to leave Big Brother—they had been like a family to her for a time. But she eventually decided to break with the band and go her own way. Joplin played with Big Brother for the last time in December 1968.
Joplin's first solo effort, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! (1969), with Kozmic Blues Band, received mixed reviews. Some of the recording's most memorable songs were "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" and "To Love Somebody," a cover of a Bee Gees' tune. Outside of music, Joplin appeared to be struggling with alcohol and drugs, including an addiction to heroin.
Unfortunately, Joplin's next album would be her most successful, but also her last. She recorded Pearl with the Full Tilt Boogie Band and wrote two of its songs, the powerful, rocking "Move Over" and "Mercedes Benz," a gospel-styled send-up of consumerism.
After a long struggle with substance abuse, Joplin died from an accidental heroin overdose on October 4, 1970, at a hotel in Hollywood. Completed by Joplin's producer, Pearl was released the next year and quickly became a hit. The single "Me and Bobby McGee," which was written by Kris Kristofferson, reached the top of the charts.
Despite her untimely death, Joplin's songs continue to win new fans and inspire other performers. Numerous collections of her songs have been released over the years, including In Concert (1971) and Box of Pearls (1999). In recognition of her significant accomplishments, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received a posthumous Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards in 2005.
Janis Joplin's life has been the subject of many books and documentaries, including Love, Janis (1992) written by her sister Laura Joplin. That book has been turned into a play by the same title.
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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