Considered one of her generation’s most transcendent talents, Janis Joplin would have celebrated her 79th trip around the sun today (January 19th).
Remembered by many as “The Queen of Psychedelic Soul,” Joplin gained fame as a member of Big Brother and the Holding Company, one of the bands that emerged out of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury scene in the mid-1960s. Following their appearance at Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, the band became a fixture within in the community with other prominent Bay Area bands like Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. The band’s performance of “Ball And Chain” was featured in D.A. Pennebaker‘s 1968 documentary Monterey Pop. Their inclusion in the concert film would help launch Joplin to superstar status, enabling her to leave Big Brother in 1969 to pursue a solo career (but not before the band’s second album Cheap Thrills reached the Billboard charts with the hit song, “Piece Of My Heart”).
Though Joplin never achieved the same success as a solo act that she had with Big Brother in the final years of her life, she continued to make valuable music with the release of I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! in 1969. That same year she would also play at the now-legendary Woodstock Festival, albeit not in the sharpest of states.
In September 1970 Joplin began recording the material that would end up on Pearl, but she died from a heroin overdose on October 4th before finishing the album. Pearl was released posthumously in 1971, and includes Joplin’s only number one hit, a cover of Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster’s “Me and Bobby McGee”.
Janis Joplin – “Me and Bobby McGee”
[Video: Janis Joplin]
Janis, like many others of her generation, passed away long before they should have, leaving us with a laundry list of “what if’s.” We’ve not seen a talent like Janis Joplin since her death, and it’s probably safe to say we’ll never see another.
In remembrance of Janis Joplin’s birthday today, enjoy this rare performance of Joplin in Germany circa 1969 with her Kozmic Blues Band:
Janis Joplin – Jahrhunderthalle – Frankfurt, DE – 4/12/1969 [Full-Show Video]
Setlist: Janis Joplin | Jahrhunderthalle | Frankfurt, DE | 4/12/69
Raise Your Hand, Try(Just A Little Bit Harder), Me, Maybe, Summertime, Ball And Chain, Piece Of My Heart
[Originally published January 19th, 2017]