Janis Joplin Biography

Janis Joplin was an American singer-songwriter, also known as the ‘First Lady of Rock n Roll’. This biography of Janis Joplin provides detailed information about her childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: January 19, 1943

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Janis Joplin Bisexual

Died At Age: 27

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Also Known As: Janis Lyn Joplin

Born in: Port Arthur, Texas, United States

Famous as: Singer


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

More Facts

education: Thomas Jefferson High School, Lamar State College of Technology

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Janis Joplin was an American singer-songwriter, also known as the ‘First Lady of Rock n Roll’. She was known for her forceful, gutsy singing style as compared to her contemporaries. Whenever she used to perform on stage, she dazed and amazed the audience with her husky voice. She was bold and quite rebellious in nature in her early years which made her a subject of ridicule during her school years. Her life revolved around music as she developed a group of friends in her teenage years who shared her interest in music. She faced conflicts with herself as an individual as she struggled to be what she wanted to be, but it was not long before she sorted it out and went on to become the first ‘Rock n Roll’ lady of the era. This roller-coaster ride came to a sudden halt with her untimely demise due to drug overdose. She quoted once, “On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people, then I go home alone”, which confirms the fact that fame sometimes leads to loneliness. Her death at the young age of 27 is still considered one of the most tragic deaths of the era. A girl of distinct character who went on to become a woman of utmost passion created history with her attitude and unique style of singing.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Janis was born on January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas to Seth Ward Joplin, an engineer and Dorothy Bonita East, a registrar at a business college. She had two siblings, Michael and Laura, both younger than her.
  • She was a normal teenager until the age of 14, when puberty kicked in and she became overweight and developed deep scars on her skin due to acne.
  • She was a wild child after that and used to wear men’s shirts and shorts to distinguish herself from the crowd. She faced a lot of teasing and disgraceful comments on her lifestyle.
  • She became friends with guys who shared her love for music and this flared her passion for singing.
  • She graduated from high school in 1960 but didn’t complete her studies in spite of going to several institutions for further education.
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  • In 1962, she began performing at musical gatherings and a local bar in Austin with Waller Creek Boys, an independent trio. She recorded her first ever song, “What Good Can Drinkin’ Do”, on tape at the home of a fellow student.
  • In 1963, she left for San Francisco to make a career in music industry. She recorded several tracks with Jorma Kaukonen but was unable to register her presence. On the contrary, with the use of alcohol and drugs she gained the reputation of a ‘speed freak’. Thus in order to stabilize herself, she came back to Texas in 1965.
  • Back in Texas, she adopted a healthy lifestyle in and got enrolled in anthropology major at a local university but the conventional life was not for her. Her first big break came in 1966, when she auditioned for psychedelic rockband Big Brother and the Holding Company.
  • The band signed several deals and she gave hits ‘Down on Me’, ‘Bye Bye Baby’, ’Call on Me’ as the lead vocal. ‘Cheap Thrills’, the band’s second album became an instant hit and topped the charts in US. Despite its success, she parted ways with the band in 1968 due to their lack of professionalism.
  • In 1969, her solo career started with the Kozmic Blues Band which received mixed reviews for her performance and negative criticism personally causing her much distress.
  • Her next album, ‘Pearls’, which was released in 1971 after her untimely death was her last and most successful one. Major Works
  • In 1968, the album ‘Cheap Thrills’ with the rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company topped the charts of US Top 200 featuring her as the lead vocal artist.
  • In 1971, her last album ‘Pearls’ with Full Tilt Boogie Band topped the charts of US Top 200 featuring her as the solo artist.
  • 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 in ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ in 1995.
  • She was honored with a ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2005, several years after her death.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • She was found dead on 4 October 1970 in a hotel room in Hollywood due to overdose of heroin, possibly compounded by alcohol.
  • 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 and isolation that eventually took her life.
  • Numerous books, movies and documentaries have been made on her life including ‘Love, Janis’ (1992) written by her sister, Laura Joplin.

See the events in life of Janis Joplin in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Janis Joplin Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- July 25, 2017
Janis Joplin

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