- 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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Most of the praise, however, focused on Joplin's incredible vocals. Fueled by heroin, amphetamines and the bourbon she drank straight from the bottle during gigs, Joplin's unrestrained sexual style and raw, gutsy sound mesmerized audiences—and all of this attention caused some tension between Joplin and her bandmates.
After hearing Joplin at Monterey, Columbia Records President Clive Davis wanted to sign the band. Albert Grossman,
who already managed Bob Dylan, the Band, and Peter, Paul & Mary, later signed on as the band's manager, and was able to get them out of another record deal they'd signed earlier with Mainstream Records.
While their recordings for Mainstream never found much of an audience, Big Brother's first album for Columbia, Cheap Thrills (1968), was a huge hit. While the album was wildly successful—quickly becoming a certified gold record with songs like "Piece of My Heart" and "Summertime"—creating it had been a challenging process, causing even more problems between Joplin and band's other members. (The album was produced by John Simon, who'd had the band do take after take in an attempt to create a technically perfect sound.)
Cheap Thrills helped solidify Joplin's reputation as a unique, dynamic, bluesy rock singer. Despite Big Brother's continued success, Joplin was becoming frustrated with group, feeling that she was being held back professionally.
Joplin struggled with her decision to leave Big Brother, as her bandmates had been like a family to her, but she eventually decided to part ways with the group. She played with Big Brother for the last time in December 1968.
Following a historic performance at Woodstock (August 1969), Joplin released her first solo effort, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, in September 1969, with Kozmic Blues Band. Some of the project's most memorable songs were "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" and "To Love Somebody," a cover of a Bee Gees tune. But Kozmic Blues received mixed reviews, with some media outlets criticizing Joplin personally. Feeling uniquely pressured to prove herself as a female solo artist in a male-dominated industry, the criticism caused distress for Joplin. "That was a pretty heavy time for me," she later said in an interview with Howard Smith of The Village Voice. "It was really important, you know, whether people were going to accept me or not." (Joplin's interview with Smith was her last; it took place on September 30, 1970, just four days before her death.) Outside of music, Joplin appeared to be struggling with alcohol and drugs, including an addiction to heroin.
Joplin's next album would be her most successful, but, tragically, 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.
Following a long struggle with substance abuse, Joplin died from an accidental heroin overdose on October 4, 1970, at a hotel in Hollywood's Landmark Hotel.
Included In These Groups
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