“Ball and Chain” - Janis Joplin
Janis Lyn Joplin was born January 19, 1943 and died October 4, 1970. In between she led a triumphant and tumultuous life blessed by an innate talent to convey powerful emotion through heart-stomping rock-and-roll singing. Born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas, a small Southern petroleum industry town, she gravitated to artistic interests cultivated by parents Seth and Dorothy Joplin.
Janis broke with local social traditions during the tense days of racial integration, standing up for the rights of African Americans whose segregated status in her hometown seared her youthful ideals. Along with fellow band beatnik-reading high school students, she pursued the non-traditional via arts and literature, especially music. They gravitated to folk and jazz with Janis especially taken with the blues. Discovering an inborn talent to belt the blues, Janis began copying the styles of Bessie Smith, Odetta and Leadbelly. She played the coffee houses and hootenannies of the day in the small towns of Texas. She later ventured to the beatnik haunts of Venice, North Beach and the Village in New York, eventually landing in Austin, Texas as a student at the University of Texas. Jumping into the on-the-edge lifestyle cultivated by the beats, Janis thrilled at her creativity, but almost lost herself in experiments with drugs and alcohol, especially speed.
Returning home for a year to question her life direction, she excelled at college but was never content. Music still called her to her in spite of its dangerous association with drugs. "The two aren't wedded," her friends counseled. When old Austin friend, Chet Helms, then in San Francisco, called to offer her a singing audition with an up-and-coming local group, Janis was tempted. She found a vital San Francisco community, turned upside down by the flower children of 1966, and was offered the singing position in a relatively obscure group called "Big Brother and the Holding Company." Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.
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