Me and Bobby Mcgee
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Janis Joplin was born on 19th January 1943. She was best known as a songwriter, music arranger and singer. She was the frontwoman of Big Brother and the Holding Company in the 1960s before turning to a solo career. Rolling Stone magazine rated Janis Joplin at No. 46 in their list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004 and again at No. 28 in the 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Although Janis Joplin’s career was short, it was certainly sweet. Her wild 60s existence and notorious singing style has earned her iconic and immortal status in the history pages of rock and roll.
In 1966, Joplin was invited to flower-child invaded San Francisco to audition for a local band called Big Brother and the Holding Company. The band was successful in creating sufficient buzz to join the lineup for the legendary 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival.
During the set, the band stunned crowds with a rendition of “Ball and Chain” which was a mix of piercing, psychedelic guitar and Joplin’s soulful, blues-inspired vocals.
Shortly after, Big Brother and the Holding Company acquired a three album deal with Columbia Records. Its first release was Cheap Thrills in 1968 and almost immediately went gold thanks to the help of killer singles, “Piece of My Heart” and “Summertime”. Joplin was given top billing with the band and started commanding large audiences and even larger pay cheques. Even US magazine, TIME, said she was “the most powerful singer to emerge from the white rock movement.” Joplin split with Big Brother by the end of 1968.
In 1969, she released an album called “I Got Dem ‘Ol Kozmic Blues Again, Mama”. The album met with praise in the European markets.
Meanwhile, Joplin recognized the damage of her ever-increasing drug use and vowed to quit. Sources say she was shooting approximately $200 worth of heroin per day. She formed a new band, Full Tilt Boogie Band, and began recording her next album to be titled Pearl.
Unfortunately, her efforts to kick the drug habits failed and she accidentally overdosed on heroin while staying in Los Angeles at mere age of 27.
Pearl was released after her death in 1971 and met widespread critical acclaim. The album produced several popular songs including “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Mercedes Benz”.
Joplin is considered the first legitimate female rock star and her breaking with tradition has opened doors to new genres and opportunities for women lead singers. She has an eternal place with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain within popular culture’s “27 club” which is a list of influential musicians that died at the age of 27, often under mysterious circumstances.
Her rebellious and liberated public image has been re-created in various movies including the 1979 film, The Rose, starring Bette Midler. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
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