Joplin’s Shooting Star 1966-1970


“In the rock ‘n roll firmament of the 1960s, Janis Joplin was a shooting star who burned white hot for five short years.  She died of a heroin overdose at age 27.  Joplin sang her own brand of the blues in an incendiary style.  Yet in her short time — between 1966 and 1970 — she carved out a piece of music history that was distinctly her own. During these years, she traveled from the conservative community of Port Arthur, Texas to the expansive and unpredictable world that was the drug/hippie/music scene of 1960s San Francisco — and mostly in the glare of national stardom. Joplin was born in Port Arthur, an oil refinery town, in 1943.  As a teenager in the late 1950s, she had read about Jack Kerouac and the Beatniks, began to dress in her own style, and started listening to blues music with a few high school friends.  Black blues singers Bessie Smith and Leadbelly were among her heroes. An outcast in Port Arthur by the early 1960s, Joplin had made her way to California a time or two, and eventually came to San Francisco’s music and hippie scene.  At the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival she captured national attention with a stunning blues performance of ‘Ball and Chain.’  From that point on, she became something of national phenomenon. But not everyone loved Janis Joplin. Her stage antics and whiskey-swilling, devil-may-care style put many people off. Some were convinced she had a death wish and was killing herself slowly with each performance and each day’s excesses, so that when she sang ‘Piece of My Heart,’ the meaning was for real. The article that follows here covers some of the main events in the last four years of her life, from her rapid rise to stardom to her untimely death. Janis Joplin did not initially see herself as a big-time performer or a major talent. But in 1966, when she first teamed up with a real rock band she had met through friends, Joplin had a kind of epiphany. Chet Helms, a fellow Texan and one of San Francisco’s music promoters, introduced her to a then little-known band called Big Brother and the Holding Company. Up to that point, Joplin was thinking she had a good enough voice for local gigs, but that was about it. … Joplin joined Big Brother in June 1966. Her first public performance with them was at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco where they became the house band. …”
The Pop History Dig
W – Live at Winterland ’68
amazon
YouTube: Live At Winterland 68 1:14:01

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Music and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s