Born Jan. 19: Janis Joplin
By Michael Baadke
Janis Joplin, born Jan. 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, found fame at a young age as a passionate blues and rock singer. With her powerful voice and dynamic stage presence, she first made her mark in 1967 with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company during an appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival, and with her lead vocals on the group’s first studio album.
Cheap Thrills, the follow-up studio album in 1968, landed in the No. 1 spot on the record charts and included a Top 40 hit with the song Piece of My Heart.
Joplin left Big Brother near the end of 1968 and formed the Kozmic Blues Band the next year. The group toured Europe and recorded I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Though successful, the new album did not quite achieve the hit status of Cheap Thrills. Joplin and the group headlined at the Woodstock festival in August 1969.
After a brief hiatus, Joplin returned in 1970 with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, touring Canada and recording an album that would be named Pearl.
Before the album was released, Joplin died of a drug overdose at age 27 on Oct. 4, 1970.
Pearl was issued Jan. 11, 1971, and included the No. 1 hit Me and Bobby McGee.
The United States Postal Service issued a forever stamp honoring Joplin on Aug. 8, 2014, as part of its Music Icons commemorative series (Scott 4916).
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