Janis Joplin life and biography

Janis Joplin  picture, image, poster

Janis Joplin biography

Date of birth : 1943-01-19
Date of death : 1970-10-04
Birthplace : Port Arthur, Texas, USA
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-05-21
Credited as : Blues rock Singer-songwriter, singer of Big Brother , Me and Bobby McGee

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Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer, songwriter and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Joplin number 46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Known as one of the premier in-your-face female blues vocalists of all time, Janis Joplin surprised the nation with her on and off stage antics. Her unforgettable musical style, combined with her careful choosing of songs to perform, made her a national and international sensation. Her last album, released posthumously, which included the song Me and Bobby McGee, displays her true talent to audiences worldwide.

Young Janis had many dreams of being an artist. She loved art and even decided to pursue an advanced degree in it at the University of Texas at Austin. But, the call to California was too much, so she dropped out and began as a vocalist for the group known as Big Brother. The band released an album and performed what many have called one of the greatest performances in history at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

After leaving Big Brother, which she believed was a great place for her to start her career, but not to remain, she moved on to form her own band dubbed the Kozmic Blues Band, which released I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! that was performed at Woodstock. Following her top-ten hits, Joplin became addicted to alcohol and especially heroin, a habit that she attempted several times in her short career to break.

What many audiences remember about Janis Joplin was her unforgettable stage performance and presence. Her unbelievable display of energy was fed by the attention given to her by her roaring fans. She wanted to prove herself as a young, tough artist willing to push every limit set before her. And, she did to the dismay of many who believed that a young woman should not be a part of the male-dominated world of rock and roll.

The autobiography of Janis Joplin was never published, but her biography was made into a film called The Rose starring Bette Midler and released in 1979. Joplin, at the height of her career, died after recording a song with a band known as Full Tilt. The cause of death was a heroin overdose. Joplin’s songs and albums are still sold and cherished for their brash, direct manner coupled with her amazing vocal capability.


Joplin was a pioneer in the male-dominated rock music scene of the late 1960s, influencing generations of musicians to come. Stevie Nicks commented that after seeing Joplin perform, "I knew that a little bit of my destiny had changed. I would search to find that connection that I had seen between Janis and her audience. In a blink of an eye she changed my life."

Joplin's body decoration, with a wristlet and a small heart on her left breast, by the San Francisco tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle, is taken as a seminal moment in the tattoo revolution and was an early moment in the popular culture's acceptance of tattoos as art. Another trademark was her flamboyant hair styles, often including colored streaks and accessories such as scarves, beads and feathers.

The 1979 film The Rose was loosely based on Joplin's life. Bette Midler earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

In the late 1990s, the musical play Love, Janis was created with input from Janis's younger sister Laura plus Big Brother guitarist Sam Andrew, with an aim to take it to Off Broadway. Opening in the summer of 2001 and scheduled for only a few weeks of performances, the show won acclaim and packed houses and was held over several times, the demanding role of the singing Janis attracting rock vocalists from relative unknowns to pop stars Laura Branigan and Beth Hart. A national tour followed. Gospel According to Janis, a biographical film starring Zooey Deschanel as Joplin, was originally scheduled to begin shooting in early 2007, now has a projected release date in 2012.

At the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Janis, a one-woman show by Nicola Haydn, which imagined the last hour of Joplin's life, gained its first substantial run. It was nominated for 'Best Solo Performance' in The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence. The production tourbus also used a recreation of Joplin's Porsche by Brighton graffiti artist Req – on a VW Polo for budgetary reasons.

In 1988, the Janis Joplin Memorial, with an original bronze, multi-image sculpture of Joplin by Douglas Clark, was dedicated in Port Arthur, Texas.

Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Among the artifacts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum Exhibition are Joplin's scarf and necklaces, her 1965 Porsche 356 Cabriolet with psychedelically-designed painting, and a sheet of LSD blotting paper designed by Robert Crumb, designer of the Cheap Thrills cover. She was the honoree at the Rock Hall's American Music Master concert and lecture series for 2009.

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