Janis Joplin

The more you live, the less you die.” –Janis Joplin
If you got it today, you don’t want it tomorrow, man. ‘Cos you don’t need it, So as a matter of fact, as we discover all the time, tomorrow never happens, man. It’s all the same f…n’ day, man!” –Janis Joplin, at live performance in Calgary on 4th July 1970 – exactly four months before her death. (apologies for censoring her exact words which can be heard on the “Janis Joplin in Concert” CD)

Best known for: Rock and roll’s first female superstar, Janis Joplin showed that women could be rock singers. Almost 30 years after her death she is remembered as the best white blues singer of the 1960s. Famous for her incendiary stage performances, her masochistic tango with the bottle, her tumultuous love life, and her fatal dalliance with drugs, her musical legacy is also a part of Austin’s history — how the disheveled folkie/UT student playing at west campus hootenannies and Kenneth Threadgill’s bar on North Lamar took off for San Francisco with some other Texans in the Sixties and changed the history of rock & roll. 

Born: January 19th, 1943, in St. Mary’s Hospital, Port Arthur, Texas, to parents Seth and Dorothy (East) Joplin. She died in Los Angeles on October 4th, 1970.

Family: Parents: Seth Ward and Dorothy (East) Joplin. Brothers: Michael. Sisters: Lara. Janis’ father, Seth, worked at the Texaco refinery and the family lived comfortably. Her mother was a Sunday School teacher and a registrar for a business college.

Education: After graduating in 1960 from Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Janis took some college courses at Lamar Tech and later attended The University of Texas at Austin.

Career: At first Joplin found work in country and western clubs in Houston and other Texas cities. She moved on to the folk circuit in Austin, but later moved on to San Francisco and briefly, New York City. She played at famous venues such as: Madison Square Garden, Paris, London, Woodstock, and Harvard Stadium. She made an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and was making a salary in the six figure range.  

Death: On October 4, 1970, while recording her next album “Pearl,” she succeeded procuring an illicit drug, a batch of heroin that was more pure than usual. She accidentally overdosed in the Landmark Motor Hotel in Los Angeles (now called the Highland Gardens Hotel, 7047 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028) at the age of 27. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered off the California coast.