Tag Archives: Janis Joplin

Remembering Janis Lyn Joplin

Remembering Janis Lyn Joplin

January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970

Remembering you…

(sound clip is from Janis on the Dick Cavett Show 18 July 1969)

Janis Joplin

Janis Lyn Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas. High school was an uncomfortable place for her as a teenager in the mid-1950s. Unlike her classmates, her tastes in music gravitated toward the blues and beatniks. 

She sang in a local choir and expanded her listening to singers such as Odetta, Billie Holiday and Big Mama Thornton. In fact, years later Janis provided a headstone for Bessie Smith’s grave, who is buried in Philadelphia’s Mount Lawn cemetery.

Janis Lyn Joplin
Mount Lawn Cemetery, Sharon Hill, PA

After a couple of unsuccessful college ventures, visits to California, living in Texas again, going to NYC, and a failed marriage engagement, Janis arrived in San Francisco on June 4, 1966 to audition with Big Brother and the Holding Co. She became part of the band and her first performance with them was six days later at the Avelon Ballroom.

Remembering Janis Lyn Joplin

Big Brother & the Holding Co.

Janis and the band became local favorites and a year later on June 17, 1967 they hit the big time at the Monterrey International Pop Festival. When the movie was released in December 1968, it was Janis on the poster.

Janis Lyn Joplin

Here she is at that festival performing Ball and Chain.

And 21 months later at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, she again starred.

Remembering Janis Lyn Joplin

And only a year later, on August 12, 1970, was Janis’s last public performance. It was at Harvard Stadium, Boston with the Full Tilt Boogie Band. (story and photos from WBUR site)

Like too many of her time, the drug availability and sycophant fans were too easy to avoid. Perhaps Life seemed better with them. Life, perhaps, had become addicted to them.

On October 4, 1970 Janis Joplin was found dead of a drug overdose at the Landmark Hotel in Los Angeles at the age of 27 by her road manager John Cooke. (NYT obituary)

References: Joplin dot com

Remembering Janis Lyn Joplin


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Cheap Thrills Love Child

Cheap Thrills Love Child

Cheap Thrills Love Child. What? 

On November 30, 1968 two ladies were at #1. Diana Ross & the Supremes with their "Love Child" single and Big Brother & the Holding Company's Janis Joplin's "Cheap Thrills" album. I would never compare these great singers. The sexy silky smooth Motown's Ms Ross. The tough as nuts, sensitive as a teenager's ego Texas Janis. 

We Baby Boomers were fortunate to have such women sing to us. 

Cheap Thrills Love Child.
Cheap Thrills Love Child
Diana Ross & the Supremes, Love Child
On November 30 (until December 13, 1968) Diana Ross  & the Supremes' single, “Love Child” became the Billboard #1 single. It was their 11th #1 single in the US. It knocked the Beatles' "Hey Jude" out of the #1 spot, a spot "Hey Jude" had held for two months. 

Cheap Thrills Love Child.
I started my life in an old, cold, rundown tenement slum
My father left, he never even married Mom
I shared the guilt my mama knew
So afraid that others knew I had no name

Cheap Thrills Love Child
On the same date, November 30 (thru December 20, 1968) Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills returned to the Billboard #1 album spot. It had alrady been there from October 12 to November 15 when Jimi Hendrix's Electric Landland album replaced it for two weeks.
It's tough to choose one song from Thrills, but to my mind "Ball and Chain"  has one of the greatest starts to any song ever. It leaves you hanging...and then simply drops you!
Janis loved comic artists. R. Crumb in particular. She asked him to do something and what he came up with is an unforgettable album cover, one for the ages and one that listeners held and stared at while the album spun -- over and over.
According to Columbia's art director John Berg:  [Janis] Joplin commissioned it, and she delivered Cheap Thrills to me personally in the office. There were no changes with R. Crumb. He refused to be paid, saying, “I don't want Columbia's filthy lucre.
Cheap Thrills Love Child
Big Brother & the Holding Company, Cheap Thrills album cover
Janis Joplin was only with Big Brother from 1966 to 1969 and Cheap Thrills was her last album with them. But what an album! Rolling Stone magazine's review didn't quite think so, but the NYT wrote quite a bit about Big Brother & Janis. Ironically, today the cover is ranked number 9 on Rolling Stone's list of one hundred greatest album covers. 

Cheap Thrills Love Child.

Cheap Thrills Love Child. Cheap Thrills Love Child. Cheap Thrills Love Child.

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October 4 Peace Love Activism

October 4 Peace Love Activism

Feminism & Matilda Josyln Gage

October 4, 1850: Gage [24 years old] signed petition stating that she would face a 6-month prison term and a $2,000 fine rather than obey the Fugitive Slave Law. (F, see June 21, 1851; Gage, see September 1852)

Emma Goldman

October 4 - 16,1893: Goldman was tried and found guilty of inciting to riot. She was sentenced to one year in the penitentiary on Blackwell's Island in New York's East River. (see May 11, 1894)

Calvin Graham

October 4, 1944: Graham wrote to the Chief of Naval Personnel requesting a discharge certificate. Each of Graham’s requests was denied upon the basis that his enlistment was void and therefore canceled. Also that month, Graham’s claim for arrears of pay and mustering-out pay was presented to the General Accounting Office. (full story see Calvin Graham)

Space Race

Sputnik 1
October 4, 1957: the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into earth orbit. The first man-made satellite passes overhead, making one revolution every 90 minutes. (see Oct 5)

October 4, 1959, Space Race: the Soviet Luna 3 flew  around the moon, taking the first photographs of the far side of the moon. Two more Soviet launches the following year will not achieve proper flight paths. Information about them will be suppressed. (article) (see April 13, 1960) 


Lenny Bruce

October 4 Peace Love Activism

October 4, 1961: police arrested comedian Lenny Bruce  at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco on obscenity charges for saying the word “cocksucker.” Bruce was a pioneer in aggressive, politically oriented stand-up comedy, using humor to attack racism, sexual prudery, and religious hypocrisy in American life. Today’s tradition of boundary-breaking stand-up comedy, with respect to language, sex, politics, race, and religion, originated with Lenny Bruce.

Many observers then and now argue that Bruce’s arrests, including those in Chicago and New York City, were prompted not by dirty words but by his comedy routines that made fun of the Catholic Church, which offended local politicians and police. For his New York City arrest, see November 4, 1964. For that arrest, he was pardoned by New York Governer Pataki 39 years later on December 23, 2003. (see June 25, 1963)
Nazi march
October 4, 1976: Frank Collin, leader of a band of Nazi sympathizers from Chicago's South side, sends a letter to Daniel D. Brown, Director of Parks and Recreation, Skokie Park District, requesting that his group be permitted to march in Skokie's "Birch Park" on November 6, 1976. (see Oct 25)

The Cold War

Yankees v Reds

October 4 Peace Love Activism

October 4 – 9, 1961: World Series: NY Yankees vs. the Cincinnati Reds. Yankees won in five games to earn their 19th championship in 39 seasons. This World Series was surrounded by Cold War political puns pitting the "Reds" against the "Yanks".  (see Oct 6)
Yankees v Giants
October 4 – 16, 1962: World Series matched the defending World Series champions NY  Yankees against the San Francisco Giants. The Yankees took the Series in seven games for the 20th championship in team history.
Cardinals v Red Sox
October 4 – 12, 1967: World Series: St. Louis Cardinals against the Boston Red Sox in a rematch of the 1946 World Series, with the Cardinals winning in seven games.

October 4 Music et al

Beatles Ready Set Go
October 4, 1963: appear on BBC’s Ready, Set, Go. Dusty Springfield does intros and asked fan questions. (see Oct 13) 

Good Vibrations

October 4 Peace Love Activism

October 4, 1966,  after over six months of recording and production work, the Beach Boys (actually Brian Wilson) released "Good Vibrations." (NPR story) (see December 10 – 16)

see Gold Rush Festival for more

October 4, 1969, Gold Rush Festival (Lake Amador, CA): 40,000 people attended.
Janis Joplin

October 4 Peace Love Activism

October 4, 1970 – Janis Joplin, age 27, died. (27 Club) (Woodstock video)


October 4 Peace Love Activism

October 4, 1966: Lesotho independent from United Kingdom. (see Nov 30)


October 4, 1973: Joint conference committee irons out differences between House and Senate War Powers Act bills. (NYT article) (see Oct 10)

Watergate Scandal

October 4, 1974: the trial of Watergate conspirators HR Haldeman, John Erlichman, John Mitchell, Robert Mardian, and Kenneth Parkinson began, Judge John Sirica presiding. (see Dec 19)
October 4 Peace Love Activism


October 4 Peace Love Activism

October 4, 2002: “Shoe bomber,” Richard Reid, pled guilty to all eight counts. (NYT article) (see Nov 4) 

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