Nick Name: Pearl
Birthday: January 19, 1943
Died At Age: 27
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Janis Lyn Joplin
Born Country: United States
Born in: Port Arthur, Texas, United States
Famous as: Singer
Quotes By Janis Joplin
father: Seth Joplin (1910–1987)
mother: Dorothy (née East) Joplin
siblings: Laura, Michael
Died on: October 4, 1970
place of death: Hollywood, California, United States
Cause of Death: Drug Overdose
U.S. State: Texas
education: Lamar State College of Technology, University of Texas at Austin, Port Arthur College
Who was Janis Joplin?
Janis Joplin was an American singer-songwriter. Known as the ‘First Lady of Rock n Roll,’ she was widely acclaimed for her powerful mezzo-soprano vocals. A performer with an electric stage presence, she dazed and amazed the audience whenever she performed on stage. She was bold and quite rebellious in nature during her early years which made her a subject of ridicule during her school days. Her life revolved around music as she made a group of friends in her teenage years who shared her interest for music. She faced conflicts within herself as she struggled to decide on what she wanted to become. It was not long before her struggles came to an end as she went on to become the ‘First Lady of Rock n Roll.’ Her roller-coaster ride came to a sudden halt with her untimely demise due to drug overdose. She was once quoted as saying “On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people, then I go home alone” which confirms the fact that fame can sometime lead to loneliness. Her death, at the young age of 27, is still considered one of the most tragic incidents of the era. Before her demise, Janis Joplin went on to create history with her attitude and unique style of singing. Apart from featuring in many ‘greatest artists of all time’ lists, she remains one of the best-selling singers in the United States.
Childhood & Early Life
Janis Lyn Joplin was born on January 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, USA, to Seth Ward Joplin, an engineer, and Dorothy Bonita East, a registrar at a business college. She had two younger siblings, Michael and Laura
At the age of 14, puberty kicked in, causing her to become overweight. She also developed deep scars on her skin due to acne.
She was often bullied and ostracized in high school. Other kids would often taunt her and call her names like ‘creep,’ ‘pig,’ ‘nigger lover,’ and ‘freak.’ She later said, “I was a misfit. I read, I painted, I thought. I didn't hate niggers.”
She became friends with guys who shared her love for music and this flared up her passion for singing.
She graduated from high school in 1960. She did not complete her college education in spite of attending several institutions.
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In 1962, she began performing with an independent trio named ‘Waller Creek Boys’ at musical gatherings and a local bar in Austin. At the home of a fellow student, she recorded on tape her first song ‘What Good Can Drinkin’ Do.’
In 1963, she left for San Francisco to make a career in music. She recorded several tracks with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. The same year, she was arrested for shoplifting in San Francisco. Subsequently, her alcohol and drug use increased and she gained a reputation as a ‘speed freak.’ In 1965, her friends persuaded her to return to Texas.
Back in Texas, she adopted a healthy lifestyle and enrolled at ‘Lamar University’ as anthropology major. However, the conventional life was not for her. Her first big break came in 1966 when she joined the psychedelic rock band ‘Big Brother and the Holding Company.’
The band signed several deals and she gave several hits, such as ‘Down on Me,’ ‘Bye Bye Baby,’ and ‘Call on Me’ as the lead vocalist. ‘Cheap Thrills,’ the band’s second album, became an instant hit and topped the charts in US. Despite her success, she parted ways with the band in 1968 due to their lack of professionalism.
After parting ways with ‘Big Brother and the Holding Company,’ she formed a backup group called the ‘Kozmic Blues Band.’ In 1969, her first solo studio album ‘I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!’ was released.
Her second and final solo studio album ‘Pearl’ released in 1971, after her untimely death. It held on to its number one spot on the ‘Billboard 200’ for nine weeks and was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA.
In 1968, the album ‘Cheap Thrills,’ which she released along with the rock band ‘Big Brother and the Holding Company,’ topped the ‘US Top 200’ chart. The album featured her as the lead vocalist.
In 1971, her last album ‘Pearl’ topped the charts of ‘US Top 200.’ It featured her as a solo artist.
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Her single ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ became an instant hit and reached the No.1 position in ‘US Hot 100.’
Awards & Achievements
She was posthumously inducted into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ in 1995.
In 2004, she was ranked 46th in ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine’s ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’ list.
She was posthumously honored with a ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2005.
In 2008, she was ranked 28th in ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine’s ‘100 Greatest Singers of All Time’ list.
Personal Life & Legacy
She was found dead on 4 October 1970 in a hotel room in Hollywood. It was said that she died due to overdose of heroin, possibly compounded by alcohol. Joplin’s mortal remains were cremated at ‘Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary’ in Los Angeles, California.
Her personal life was very much the root cause of her sudden demise in 1970. She was facing enormous criticism for her personality and lifestyle which pushed her to a state of loneliness that eventually took her life.
Numerous books, movies, and documentaries have been made on her life. These include ‘Love, Janis’ (1992) which was written by her sister Laura Joplin.