Lady Pioneer of Rock n Roll


She told the women who listened “You too can do this~”

These are the words every chic in the USA  heard from the incomparable and original Janis Joplin. Do you recall her salty and sultry vocals singing the blues?

Like in “Cry Baby”?

This woman who we saw take the entire nation and then the world by storm with her raunchy style became an icon of  many music fans. More so what she shared with us is that women do have their place in the world of Rock n Roll. Not just in pop, folk, and country where women had felt at home from the beginning. Women can do it just as sweet and successful as men can. Janis is the one who paved that road golden for those wanting a life in the rock n Roll industry. Before Janis there were female artists, many living a lie. They wanted to do their own thing in classic rock, but had been told over and over; it’s “not a place for a woman” And Joplin said, “Excuse me?”

In her rich Texas drawl Janis Joplin then would  add,  “NO Way! That’s not who I am.”

Born January 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, Janis Joplin developed a love of music at an early age, but her career never really took off until she joined Big Brother in 1966. Their album Cheap Thrills was a huge hit, but caused strife between Joplin and the band. Joplin left and her second solo album “Pearl” became her most successful, but she died of an accidental overdose before it was released.

And she broke our hearts. I named my youngest daughter after Janis Joplin. Until my Janis was in her 7th year in school she hated her name. All it took was a groovy English teacher to hear why she was named Janis. It was a school assignment about why you were named your name. and when her English teacher thought this pretty cool I was instantly a credible & responsible mom again in my daughters eyes.

Musically, Joplin and her friends gravitated toward blues and jazz music, admiring such artists as Leadbelly. She also was inspired by legendary blues vocalists Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey and Odetta, an early leading figure in the folk music movement. The group also frequented local working-class bars in nearby Vinton of Louisiana. By her senior year of high school, Joplin had developed a persona of sorts — a ballsy, tough-talking girl who like to drink and be outrageous.

n 1962, Joplin left again to study at the University of Texas at Austin. There she started performing at folksings — casual musical gatherings where anyone can perform — on campus and at a local club with the Waller Creek Boys, a musical trio she was friends with. With her forceful, gutsy singing style, Joplin amazed many audience members. She was unlike any other white female vocalist at the time — folk icons Joan Baez and Judy Collins were known for their gentle sound.

( I so wanted to emulate her voice and octave range,  but found her genre was not my style.)

In 1966, Joplin returned to San Francisco to audition for Big Brother Holding Company, which consisted of James Gurley, Dave Getz, Peter Albin, and Sam Andrew. The group was part of the burgeoning San Francisco music scene of the late 1960s, which also included such bands as the Grateful Dead, Its a Beautiful Day, Quicksilver Messenger Service, just to name  few. The band Big Brother was impressed with Joplin and wanted her to join the group. In her early days with Big Brother, she only sang a few songs and played the tambourine in the background.

It was not long before Joplin assumed a bigger role in Big Brother as the group developed quite a following in the San Francisco area. There is a lot to be said about the entire scene of the then San Fransisco music community. In my mind if  the band was not United Kingdom born  and it was any good, it  was because it came out of he San Francisco Bay area. All you need is to journey through my music collection to know this is how I still feel.

After a long struggle with substance abuse, Joplin died from an accidental heroin overdose on October 4, 1970, at a hotel in Hollywood. Joplin is a member of a club that NO one wishes to be a member of;  The 27 year Club.  To many musicians lives were lost at age 27.  For more information see link

Completed by Joplin’s producer, her album “Pearl”was released the next year and quickly became a hit. The single “Me and Bobby McGee,” which was written by Kris Kristofferson, reached the top of the charts of San Francisco.

Many female vocalists (no just classic rock) have Janis Joplin to thank for her courage, and her on stage bravado. It was not an easy business for any woman to be in at the time. Remember this was before women were  becoming  empowered.

We thank Janis for her commitment to Rock n Roll,  She led the way for so many of us. It’s too bad that drugs and alcohol beat her, she would have taken us for quite lovely long ride.

The Last 24 Hours Janis Joplin~  read about Joplins last 24 Hours below. see actual film at – same title


14 responses »

    • Thank you Lou for your always great comments. We were all blessed by this crazy woman. I loved her spirit and her vocals today still trancsend time.
      I remember always how my dad a country singer himself being quite smitten with Joplins music.
      She really did so much for lighting the way for other women, I am so thankful.. even today,

  1. Reblogged this on Gerry's Space. and commented:

    C’mon all you people’zzzz pop along and leave a comment or even better join with the fun and offer your story, if you want to do a guest post just let us know, really want know your story.. look forward to your fun…c’mon ya all join in..

    • Thank you Ruth for saying so. She will love to hear this. She’s very enamored with be named after her now. It was just not cool enough for her while she was still very much into her TWEEN- years.
      Having other “COOL” people such as her long haired English teacher who she adored think it a great name and why was the catalyst she needed. Now she tells everyone & anyone who is remotely interested. Parents never know anything.. anyway..

      Thanks for visiting and following to here at Cyklopps, Ride Again… again… ~ BB

    • I understand Melissa was in the throes of her Chemo treatment for this tribute. Thus an astonishing performance on its own, but seriously? That takes courage. We are glad that you thought to share it here It was a great tribute to this Lady Rock n Roll hero of my heart. Having Kris Kristopherson do the intro;s also was a great sentiment considering his well know affection about Janis. Could not have been a more perfect choice.

      I remember thinking at the time of seeing this clip that it was a sad statement that Sam Andrews did not even send a video message regarding Big Brother Holding Company’s time with Janis. Despite their falling out it would have been an honorable thing to do. It’s quite possible they would not be the name they are today and moved out of the San Francisco music scene if not for Janis.
      Maybe next time, because we know there are going to be hundreds of next times.

      Please come back, we love discussions!

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