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Janis Joplin

The greatest white female rock singer of the 1960s, Janis Joplin was also a great blues singer, making her material her own with her wailing, raspy, supercharged emotional delivery. First rising to stardom as the frontwoman for San Francisco psychedelic band Big Brother & the Holding Company, she left the group in the late '60s for a brief and uneven (though commercially successful) career as a solo artist. Although she wasn't always supplied with the best material or most sympathetic musicians, her best recordings, with both Big Brother and on her own, are some of the most exciting performances of her era. She also did much to redefine the role of women in rock with her assertive, sexually forthright persona and raunchy, electrifying on-stage presence.

Joplin was raised in the small town of Port Arthur, TX, and much of her subsequent personal difficulties and unhappiness has been attributed to her inability to fit in with the expectations of the conservative community. She'd been singing blues and folk music since her teens, playing on occasion in the mid-'60s with future Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. There are a few live pre-Big Brother recordings (not issued until after her death), reflecting the inspiration of early blues singers like Bessie Smith, that demonstrate she was well on her way to developing a personal style before hooking up with the band. She had already been to California before moving there permanently in 1966, when she joined a struggling early San Francisco psychedelic group, Big Brother & the Holding Company. Although their loose, occasionally sloppy brand of bluesy psychedelia had some charm, there can be no doubt that Joplin -- who initially didn't even sing lead on all of the material -- was primarily responsible for lifting them out of the ranks of the ordinary. She made them a hit at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, where her stunning version of "Ball and Chain" (perhaps her very best performance) was captured on film. After a debut on the Mainstream label, Big Brother signed a management deal with Albert Grossman and moved on to Columbia. Their second album, Cheap Thrills, topped the charts in 1968, but Joplin left the band shortly afterward, enticed by the prospects of stardom as a solo act.

Joplin's first album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, was recorded with the Kozmic Blues Band, a unit that included horns and retained just one of the musicians that had played with her in Big Brother (guitarist Sam Andrew). Although it was a hit, it wasn't her best work; the new band, though more polished musically, was not nearly as sympathetic accompanists as Big Brother, purveying a soul-rock groove that could sound forced. That's not to say it was totally unsuccessful, boasting one of her signature tunes in "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)."

For years, Joplin's life had been a roller coaster of drug addiction, alcoholism, and volatile personal relationships, documented in several biographies. Musically, however, things were on the upswing shortly before her death, as she assembled a better, more versatile backing outfit, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, for her final album, Pearl (ably produced by Paul Rothchild). Joplin was sometimes criticized for screeching at the expense of subtlety, but Pearl was solid evidence of her growth as a mature, diverse stylist who could handle blues, soul, and folk-rock. "Mercedes Benz," "Get It While You Can," and Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" are some of her very best tracks. Tragically, she died before the album's release, overdosing on heroin in a Hollywood hotel in October 1970. "Me and Bobby McGee" became a posthumous number one single in 1971, and thus the song with which she is most frequently identified. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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A woman left lonely had one of my daughters in tears at 16
All 5 of my kids appreciate the greats
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Another artist with a name starting with J that died too soon...Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Jim Croce, Jimi Hendrix...
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I luv her she was the best !! Voice!
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This is real music!!!
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One of The Greatest
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Janis is a woman who rocked an I just wish she didn't go out so soon the great ones always do!!!!!!
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My idol! She follwed her own heart. She did things her own way and what/way she likes. She was and still is a leader. Not follwers like all these sheep nowadays that think something is popular or cool and have to get it or copy them. I will never be a brainwashed sheep either!
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cowboysfanno 0 1
She is one of the greatest voices that we lost to early. I remember seeing her in Golden Gate Park at the free concerts they use to have there. Back in the 1960's. When ever I hear her songs it reminds me of that time and place. Thank You Janis
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Best singer EVER WISH I COULD HAVE MET HER I CAN SING JUST. LIKE HER
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Janis could singggg
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asbiphone
Busted flat in Baton Rouge....
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asbiphone
Love her!! A great talent taken way to soon.
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Nice.!!
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Today the controversy is a dress, at my house it's sugar, coffee additive or poison. Janis stated , Hippies and Beatniks, top dogs and under dogs . That's why I personally listen to those time bending songs.
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doyaldanny
I still love her work to this day. To date i still say I was born in the wrong era. Wish she was still with us. As well as many of the great bands/singer s that the world has lost. many of the other great bands/Singer ' s / solo artists, and I will strongly agree with kat4552.
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I saw her at the San Diego sports arena in 1968
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She was the most awesome miss her music
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artist685
LOVE HER SOULFUL VOICE. SHE WAS ONE OF THE BEST!
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A powerful woman, that makes me feel on top of the world ♥
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Feeling good was good enough for me
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dragonlady60 8 8
my fave...all togather now
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She sounds like Melissa Etheridge
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Janis sings to everyone's soul she is very miss by millions
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Big Brother and Janis have stood the test of time.
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I love this song.
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I'm only 22 and I've been listening to Janis for as long as I can remember. I feel like I know her on such a deep level that she's like a long lost aunt of mine. Although I know that's not the case, it's just how I feel. I even have her tattoo that she had on her wrist tattooed on mine. (: <3
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I found Janis Joplin GREATEST HITS, Is paewn shop.one dollar
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Should a could a bookmarked Joplin
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Aaah kelly clarkson!!!! ! ! ! ! #VanossGamin g
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Greatest singer ever!
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villanuevaro
Her voice makes me cry. She sings from her heart❤️ she's amazing.
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I think she'll always be remembered for take a piece of my heart that's how I remember it I don't know if that's the exact title she was amazing on that not that she isn't amazing on everything she did
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Comparing Janis to Lady Gaga is like comparing the Beatles to the Monkeys... SHAME ON YOU
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her voice was amazing every time I her songs it gives me chills, I love her
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Song still gives me goosebumps!! Love it!!
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mojorisinimr l
We'll written song... Great interpretati o n . 7 on a scale of 1-10. Rivals some of lady gagas early work.
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Love janis always forever emil.c
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bybyonkers
Pearl introduced me as a 10 year old to blues and R&R. Still in love. thank you Janis
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Awesome allll ages.......
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I was born in '75. Too late for Janis, but I absolutely love her and never tire of her music. Rock on, wherever you are, sister.
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Rooof rooff bow wow from the dawgman you make me feeel goood baby!
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In 1969 Janis's voice overpowered the sound of my engine in my 1967 Camaro as I started it. Cheap Thrills was in my 8 track for at least 1 year straight.
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I love Janis !!!������✌️✌
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Love janis she was freakin amazing!!!!
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Love it
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perez414
She was real, she gave it her all..so sad she left us so young...I love Janis Joplin!!! <3
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This was a bad lady.... and that is why I like her a great deal....
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Elvis can have the title of king of rock cause Janis is the QUEEN of ROCK
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she was a very sad girl and lonely she left us her music
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Her best song my type of woman no bull drink me under the table fat bottom woman
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