Music Diary – 19th January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 19th January!

Janis Joplin (19th January 1943 - 4th October 1970)

Janis Joplin (19th January 1943 – 4th October 1970)

 

Happy birthday to Janis Lyn Joplin, who was born on the 19th January 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas!

Janis started singing in the local choir and after graduation from High School in 1960, she attended the University of Texas in Austin. The campus newspaper published an article about the unique girl, who walked barefoot most of the time, with the headline „She Dares to Be Different” and when she was twenty, Joplin moved to San Francisco. There she met the future Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. The duo recorded some Blues standards like “Hesitation Blues” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out“. During this time, Janis Joplin started living a Rock’n’Roll lifestyle. In 1965 she cleaned her mind and returned to her hometown in Texas and started performing as a singer. One year later, she was asked by the band Big Brother and the Holding Company to be the new singer – and Janis joined the group on 4th June 1966. During August of the following year, the debut album “Big Brother and the Holding Company” was released and on the 12th August 1968 the milestone “Cheap Thrills” hit the stores and went No. 1 in the US charts, while the single outtake “Piece of My Heart” reached No. 12. Shortly after that, Janis surprised the band by deciding to start a solo career. Her new backing group was called Kozmic Blues Band. Sadly the outstanding singer replapsed on drugs and alcohol again.


In 1969 Janis Joplin performed at Woodstock festival and one month later the solo debut “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!” followed. Janis thought about avoiding drugs again and so she travelled in February 1970 to Brazil, where she became clean. But after her return a few months later, she relapsed again. While working on new songs with producer Paul A. Rothchild (who also worked with The Doors), Janis addicted more and more on drugs and alcohol. During the last recording sessions, she passed away on the 4th October 1970. Janis Joplin died after an accidental heroin overdose at the age of only 27 years. The fantastic results 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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Music Diary – 12th October

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 12th October!

Big Brother and the Holding Company - Cheap Thrills

On the 12th October 1968 the LP „Cheap Thrills“ by Janis Joplin and Big Brother & The Holding Company went to No. 1 on the US album chart and stayed there for eight weeks. It’s also one of the most successful LPs of that year – over one million copies were sold. Although this was the big breakthrough for the band, Janis Joplin decided to leave the group and started her solo career in December 1968.


The cover was created by Robert Crumb and it was planned to use his drawing only for the back cover. But Janis Joplin was a big fan of his underground comic art and insisted that Columbia Records put it on the front cover. The record company obeyed but refused the original title „Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills“ – so it was shortened just to „Cheap Thrills“.

The Rolling Stone magazin ranked „Cheap Thrills“ in 2003 on place No. 338 of the list „500 greatest albums of all time“ and the cover is on number nine on the list of „One Hundred Greatest Album Covers“.

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Music Diary – 4th October

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 4th October!

Janis Joplin (19th January 1943 - 4th October 1970)

Janis Joplin (19th January 1943 – 4th October 1970)

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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Get your Janis Joplin gear here (for Austrian customer):

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Music Diary – 29th September

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 29th September!

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis

On the 29th September 1935 Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis aka „The Killer“ was born in the town of Ferriday, Louisiana (USA). The singer and pianist is considered as one of the greatest Rock’n’Roll musicians in history. At the age of 21, Jerry Lee Lewis traveled for an audition to the legendary Sun Records studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Jack Clement recorded the cover version of „Crazy Arms“ (formerly recorded by Ray Price) and Lewis‘ own composition „End of the Road“. One month later, in December 1956, Lewis started his solo career and became also a sessions musician for Sun Records. His unique piano playing can be heard on many recordings for artits like Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.

On the 4th December 1956 the historic jam session featuring Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins,  Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis happened. Label owner Sam Phillips recorded it. 25 year later is was available titled as „Million Dollar Quartet„.

In 1957 Lewis recorded his first hit „Whole Lotta Shakin‘ Going On„. And more chartbreaker followed like „Great Balls of Fire„, „Breathless“ and „High School Confidential„. After his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin Myra in the same year, his popularity was quickly gone due to this scandal. He still recorded all over the years and especially his wild live performances in the sixties became legendary. The live album „Live at the Star Club, Hamburg“ (1964) proves this: „‚Live at the Star Club‘ is extraordinary, the purest, hardest rock & roll ever committed to record“, so music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine (Allmusic).

In 1989 the biographical movie „Great Balls of Fire!“ directed by Jim McBride with Dennis Quaid starring as „The Killer“ and Winona Ryder as Myra was released. For the soundtrack Jerry Lee Lewis re-recorded his songs.


After the induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986), Lewis toured again in 1998 with the two Rock’n’Roll legends Chuck Berry and Little Richard. In 2006 the album „Last Man Standing “ was released. Three years later the record „Mean Old Man“ hit the stores. For the 18 new songs he worked together with people like Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, John Fogerty, Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Kid Rock, Slash, Ringo Starr, Robbie Robertson and Ronnie Wood – just to name a few.

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