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Janis Joplin

The quintessential passionate, hard-living blues-rock vocalist of what came to be known as the "San Francisco Sound," Janis Joplin continues to influence artists long after her untimely death. A native of Port Arthur, Texas, Joplin never fit into her hometown's sedate, conservative lifestyle, instead gravitating to the blues and rock scene. In 1966, she joined SF psychedelic band Big Brother and the Holding Company; their remarkable performance of "Ball and Chain" at the Monterey Pop festival the next year put Joplin and Big Brother on the map. Their 1968 album Cheap Thrills hit #1 and went gold, but by that time Joplin had left the band in pursuit of a solo career. As she grew artistically, she also battled the demons of substance abuse and bad relationships that were simultaneously her inspiration and her downfall. She died of a heroin overdose in 1970, shortly before the release of her last and most successful album, Pearl, which included the perennial classic "Me and Bobby McGee."

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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