Janis Joplin brought her strong bluesy voice to the psychedelic rock scene, where she became a rock and roll icon of her generation. Janis was an influence of her time because women normally did not play music with such intensity and soul. They "scratched the surface" of the music instead of really getting into it. She didn't care if she seemed unlady-like. She did her own thing and was admired by many because of it.
Quick Facts about Janis
Janice grew up in Texas and was known as a misfit in highschool where she began singing blues in a local choir. Many years later, she left Texas to join the psychedelic rock scene in San Francisco where she joined Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Janis Joplin and band Big Brother and the Holding Company, had their break-through performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. I will share a video of the band performing Big Mama Thorton’s “Ball and Chain”, at the Festival. Near the end of the video you will notice Cass Elliot (from the Mama’s and the Papa’s), mouth the words “Wow! That was heavy!”. Below is a video clip of the performance and it shows the affect she had on her audience.
Janis Joplin performing "Ball and Chain" at the Monterey Pop Festival
Shortly after the performance, their debut album was released by Columbia Records.
Below is a video clip of her second appearance on the Cavett Show. The clip shows her passion for performing. Cavett discusses the fact that Janis is unlike other women in the music scene and she explains her opinion on the issue.
Interview with Dave Cavett
Getting too Caught up in Rock 'n Roll
Janis left Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1968 and formed backup group, Kozmic Blues Band.
Janis struggled with addictions to speed, and heroine during her career. The band performed at Woodstock Festival '69; however, it was not included in the documentary film "Woodstock", because Janis was noticeably drunk and high. The 25th anniversary Director’s cut of the film finally included her.
Janis Joplin and Kozmic Blues Band broke up at the end of the year, and Janis Joplin and Full Tilt and Boogie Band was formed (consisting of mainly Canadian musicians). Their last performance together was August 12, 1970 at Havard Stadium in Boston, Massachusetts. In September 1970, the band began recording a new album. During a recording session in Oct., Janis didn’t show up to the studio. Janis' road manager drove up the her hotel to find her deadon the floor due to a heroin overdose.
“Mercedes Benz” was her last recording. It was only a first take and was not accompanied by music because Janis was supposed to work on it the day she was found.
Although she died at a young age, her unique style made a huge impact in the music industry. In my opinion, there still aren`t many woman innovators of rock music. Janis was truely one of a kind. She is a rock legend and her legacy will live on.