Janis Joplin
(1943-1970)

woman and singer

Died aged c. 27

Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer-songwriter who sang rock, soul and blues music. One of the most successful and widely known rock stars of her era, she was noted for her powerful mezzo-soprano vocals and "electric" stage presence. In 1967, Joplin rose to fame following an appearance at Monterey Pop Festival, where she was the lead singer of the then little-known San Francisco psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. After releasing two albums with the band, she left Big Brother to continue as a solo artist with her own backing groups, first the Kozmic Blues Band and then the Full Tilt Boogie Band. She appeared at the Woodstock festival and the Festival Express train tour. Five singles by Joplin reached the Billboard Hot 100, including a cover of the Kris Kristofferson song "Me and Bobby McGee", which reached number 1 in March 1971. Her most popular songs include her cover versions of "Piece of My Heart", "Cry Baby", "Down on Me", "Ball and Chain", and "Summertime"; and her original song "Mercedes Benz", her final recording. Joplin died of an accidental heroin overdose in 1970 at age 27, after releasing three albums. A fourth album, Pearl, was released in January 1971, just over three months after her death. It reached number one on the Billboard charts. She was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Rolling Stone ranked Joplin number 46 on its 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She remains one of the top-selling musicians in the United States, with Recording Industry Association of America certifications of 15.5 million albums sold.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Texas Historical Marker #13885

Janis Lyn Joplin. (January 19, 1943 - October 4, 1970) A native of Port Arthur, famed blues and rock and roll singer Janis Joplin lived here with her family. She graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1960 and attended Port Arthur College and Lamar State College of Technology (Lamar University) in Beaumont. A liberal and outspoken free spirit, Janis rebelled against the conservatism of her hometown, and in 1962 she moved to Austin to study art at the University of Texas. She connected to the burgeoning Austin music scene and began singing in clubs around town, most notably at Threadgill's, a bar operated by Texas country singer and yodeler Kenneth Threadgill. With her raw and raspy singing style exhibiting the blues, jazz, country, cajun, gospel and soul music influences of east Texas and Louisiana, she was a popular local performer. Searching for wider acceptance, Joplin moved to San Francisco in 1963 and quickly became part of the growing folk music and counter-culture movement of the 1960s. Her performances at the 1967 International Pop and Jazz Festivals in Monterey brought her widespread recognition. Her first album, Cheap Thrills, with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, was a wild success even as her personal life became marred with alcohol and drug abuse. Later recording with the Kosmic Blues Band and the Full-Tilt Boogie Band, she was an international sensation by the end of the decade. In August 1970, at the height of her fame, Joplin returned to Port Arthur for her ten-year high school reunion. Just two months later, she died of an accidental overdose of heroin and alcohol; her ashes were spread along the coast of northern California. Her final album, Pearl, released after her death, earned a gold record. (2007) #13885

4330 32nd St, Port Arthur, TX, United States where they lived

Texas International Pop Festival. The Texas International Pop Festival took place near this site during Labor Day weekend, 1969. It was held two weeks after the Woodstock Music and Art Fair introduced much of mainstream America to the "hippie" culture by way of news reports of the chaos that occurred there in part due to rainy weather and lax security. The Texas Festival brought as many as 150,000 hippies, bikers and music lovers to Lewisville, which at the time had a population of approximately 9,000 citizens. The Dallas International Motor Speedway, situated along Interstate Highway 35 south of town, was chosen as the location for the event. Twenty five musical acts, representing the genres of soul, blues and rock and roll performed during the three days of the festival. Acts included Janis Joplin, Sly & The Family Stone, Grand Funk Railroad, Chicago Transit Authority, Herbie Mann and a relatively unknown United Kingdom band called Led Zeppelin. On the north side of Lewisville, a public campground situated on the shores of Lewisville Lake served the thousands of festival attendees. A small "free stage" was constructed at the campground and local bands were brought in to perform for the campers. The skinny dipping in Lake Lewisville that resulted from the lack of shower facilities and the late summer heat drew much attention. Many locals demanded that the festival be shut down because of the threat of violence and unsavory activity, but there were no acts of violence reported at the Festival. However, area citizens were introduced to a culture that had previously been foreign to them and many who attended look back on the Festival as a life changing event.

Lakeside Circle, Lewisville, TX, United States where they performed (1969)