Few rock singers have had the enduring impact of Janis Joplin, whose raucous voice, larger-than-life personality, excessive lifestyle and early death at 27 made her a legend, inspiring generations of fiery, strong-willed female singers. Joplin always saw herself as an outsider, even in her schooldays growing up in Texas, and became a hard-drinking rebel captivated by blues greats like Bessie Smith and Leadbelly. In 1963 she moved to San Francisco, became embroiled in the Haight Ashbury psychedelic scene and teamed up with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen to sing blues. Her uninhibited vocals soon caused a stir and she was recruited as singer with psychedelic band Big Brother And The Holding Company, who released their debut album in 1967 and made a landmark appearance at Monterey Pop Festival. It turned them into one of the hottest bands in America, but Joplin's sensational performances made her the indisputable star of the show. Their second album Cheap Thrills enhanced Joplin's reputation even further - notably her feverish performance on the US Number 1 hit single Piece Of My Heart - and in 1968 she quit to play her own music with backing group, the Kozmic Blues Band and, later, the Full Tilt Boogie Band. She continued to put in blistering live shows, but her heavy drinking and heroin addiction took its toll and, shortly after recording one of her most famous songs, Mercedes Benz, she died of a drug overdose. Ironically it triggered her greatest success with the Kris Kristofferson-written single Me And Bobby McGhee and the posthumous album Pearl.
Another victim of a heroin overdose, Janis Joplin died…
This photograph features rock band Big Brother and the…
"On stage," Janis Joplin said, "I make love to…
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