• Janis Joplin was a famous music star
  • She passed away in 1970
  • Learn more about her career in memoriam

Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas on January 19th, 1943 to Dorothy Bonita East and Seth Ward Joplin. Her musical journey began at a very early age regularly singing blues and folk music with some of her high school friends. During her years in school, she was sadly bullied quite a bit by her classmates due to her interracial group of friends and her rebellious, misfit-like character. In 1962, during her time at the University of Texas, Janis decided to record one of her first songs, "What Good Can Drinkin' Do". 

Janis did eventually end up leaving Texas in 1963 having hitchhiked all the way to North Beach, San Francisco. It was there where she met future Blues legend Jorma Kaukonen with whom she would move on to record several blues standard classics including "Trouble In My Mind", "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" and "Long Black Train Blues". These songs and several others were later released after Joplin's death in an album titled "The Typewriter Tape". Fun Fact: The album was given its title due to the fact that it featured Kaukonen's wife using a typewriter in the background of several of the album's recordings. Due to her excessive drug and alcohol use at the time, she was persuaded by her friends to return to Port Arthur. Her first attempts on getting clean began promptly afterwards.

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Janis Joplin's Bands

In 1966, she rejoined one of her earlier friends Chet Helms who was managing the band Big Brother at the time. She quickly joined the band and together they released the album "Big Brother and the Holding Company" in 1967. Their second album "Cheap Thrills" was released the following year which landed the band the number 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200. "Cheap Thrills" produced several of Joplin's greatest hits including "Summertime" and "Piece of My Heart". 

After splitting from Big Brother, she quickly went on to form her own band, The Kozmic Blues Band, which had a more poppy, funk-orientated sound in comparison to most of the psychedelic rock bands at the time. During the recording sessions for "I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!", Joplin had been injecting herself with almost $200 worth of heroin amongst other things, but precautions were taken to ensure the album's release in 1969 which meant her staying in Los Angeles in order to keep away from the "smack". 

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin: Her Final Years

"I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!" ended up reaching number 5 on the Billboard Top 200 soon after its release. Shortly afterwards, she was able to form her own band called "The Full Tilt Boogie Band". She remained quite happy with the group whilst receiving overall positive ratings amongst critics. During her time in the band, Janis was going through several different problems in life, either with relationships or her music in general.

Her excessive drug abuse took a turn for the worst, and on October 4th, 1970, Joplin was found dead at the Landmark Motor Hotel in her room (#105) after apparently accidentally overdosing on a combination of heroin and alcohol at the age of 27. Her second and final studio album "Pearl" was released almost a year later. Even after her sudden and tragic death, her legacy far surpassed our favourite hardcore hippie and was therefore awarded a spot in the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. We know for a fact that her funky, blues-infused style will continue to inspire the artist of our generations and many more to come!