Janis Joplin is widely regarded as one of the greatest rock singers of all time, following her stunning success in the 1960s. But her signature gutsy tones came from a place of pain and tragedy. From failed relationships to drug abuse, here’s a look at her heartbreaking journey.
Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas, in January 1943. She started performing in her teenage years and in 1966 moved to San Francisco. Here, she became a member of Big Brother and the Holding Company. The psychedelic blues outfit had struggled to make any notable impression before Joplin’s appointment. But she soon elevated them to chart-topping fame.
The band first caught national attention after Joplin’s mesmerizing performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. After signing to Columbia Records, their album Cheap Thrills reached pole position on the Billboard 200 a year later. But Joplin had even bigger aspirations and shortly after she left the band to forge a solo career.