Posted by themusicsover on October 4, 2009
January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970
Member of the 27 Club
Janis Joplin was a pioneering female rock ‘n roll star in an era that saw very few of them. Born and raised in east Texas, Joplin had a rebellious streak from an early age. As the rock ‘n roll stereotype goes, she was an outcast who found solace in music of her idols, in this case, Lead Belly, Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton. Joplin left Texas for San Francisco in 1963. Building a name for herself throughout the scene due to her passionate bluesy singing style, Joplin was hired by local psychedelic rock favorites, Big Brother and the Holding Company to be their lead singer. Signed to Columbia Records, the group soon became a breakout act of the San Francisco scene. Thanks to a few key festival performances, television appearances and such dynamic records as “Ball and Chain” and “Piece of my Heart,” Joplin was universally being touted as one of rock’s greatest voices. Sadly though, she was waging a battle against hard drugs and alcohol, and to some, each performance seemed like it might be her last. The band broke up in December of 1970, with Joplin embarking on a solo career. All the while battling her demons, Joplin recorded what would be her swansong album, Pearl. The album contained the two rock classics, “Me and Bobby McGhee,” and “Mercedes Benz,” but would not come out until after her death. On October 4, 1970, when she failed to arrive at the recording studio to work on some finishing touches for Pearl, her band’s road manager drove over to her hotel and found lifeless body. Janis Joplin was dead of a heroin overdose at the age of 27.