Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 4th October!
On the 4th October in 1970 another great musician died far too young: Singer Janis Joplin followed Jimi Hendrix, who died only sixteen days before, the „27 Club„. After an accidental heroin overdose she was found dead at the Landmark Hotel Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Janis Lyn Joplin was born on the 19th January 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas. She started singing in the local choir. After graduation from High School in 1960 she attended the University of Texas at Austin. The campus newspaper „The Daily Texan“ ran a profile of her (27th July 1962) headlined: „She Dares to Be Different“. The story started with: „She goes barefooted when she feels like it, wears Levi’s to class because they’re more comfortable, and carries her Autoharp with her everywhere she goes so that in case she gets the urge to break into song it will be handy. Her name is Janis Joplin.“
In 1963 she moved to San Francisco and met the future Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. With him Janis recorded a number of blues standards, accompanied by Margareta Kaukonen on a typewriter instead of a percussion instrument. They recorded tracks like „Typewriter Talk“, „Kansas City Blues“, „Hesitation Blues“ and „Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out„.
In 1965 she returned to her hometwown in Texas and changed her wild life style. She avoided drugs and alcohol and went to the Lamar University in Austin and started performing as a singer. One year later, the band Big Brother and the Holding Company asked to have her in the line up and Joplin joined on 4th June 1966.
In August 1967 the debut album „Big Brother and the Holding Company“ was released by Mainstream Records – just before the group has its breakthrough appearance at the famous Monterey Pop Festival. On the 12 August 1968 the mega seller „Cheap Thrills“ hit the stores and went No. 1 in the US charts and the single „Piece of My Heart“ reached No. 12. Shortly after that Janis Joplin decided to leave the band and started a solo career with her new backing group called Kozmic Blues Band. Unfortunately Joplin relapsed on drugs and alcohol in the meantime.
On the 16th August 1969, Janis Joplin appeared on the legendary Woodstock festival and one month later the solo debut „I Got Dem Ol‘ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!“ was released. For stopping her drug and alcohol abuse, Janis Joplin traveled in February 1970 to Brazil. Afer a few months she returned to the US and she relapsed again on drugs. Musically she formed her new band called Full Tilt Boogie Band and they started touring in May 1970. Prior that Joplin joined her old mates of the Big Brother and the Holding Company for only two shows in April. On the 12th August the final performance with the Full Tilt Boogie Band took place in Boston. After that the recording sessions for the new album began in Los Angeles with procuder Paul A. Rothchild, who had worked already for The Doors.
During the last recording sessions Janis Joplin died on the 4th October 1970 at the age of only 27 years.
The result of Joplin’s last recordings were posthumously released on the album „Pearl “ (January 1971). It became the biggest selling album of her career and also the single outtake „Me and Bobby McGee“ (a Kris Kristofferson track) went No. 1.
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