Saturday, January 19, 2013
Singer-songwriter Janis Joplin would have been 70 years old today. She was born on January 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas. She sang in her church choir while discovering the music of Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Lead Belly, Odetta, Billie Holiday and Big Mama Thornton. Her ballsy, tough-talking, outrageous persona was evident in the first song she put on tape: "What Good Can Drinkin' Do." In San Francisco in 1966, she joined psychedelic rockers Big Brother and the Holding Company, whose first album, Cheap Thrills (1968), featured two songs, "Piece of My Heart" and "Summertime," that launched Joplin's short career. Her first solo effort, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! (1969), was less successful. But her next album, Pearl (released in 1971), solidified her fame. It included "Move Over," "Mercedes Benz" and “Me and Bobby McGee.” Addicted to heroin, she died of a drug overdose in October 1970, at age 27.