Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer, songwriter and music arranger, from Port Arthur, Texas. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Joplin number 46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Big Brother and the Holding Company
In 1966, Joplin's bluesy vocal style attracted the attention of the psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company, a band that had gained some renown among the nascent hippie community in Haight-Ashbury. She was recruited to join the group by Chet Helms, a promoter who had known her in Texas and who at the time was managing Big Brother. Joplin joined Big Brother on June 4, 1966. Her first public performance with them was at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. Due to persistent persuading by keyboardist and close friend Stephen Ryder, Joplin avoided drug use for several weeks, enjoining bandmate Dave Getz to promise that using needles would not be allowed in their rehearsal space or in the communal apartment where they lived. When a visitor to the apartment injected drugs in front of Joplin, she angrily reminded Getz that he had broken his promise. A San Francisco concert from that summer was recorded and released in the 1984 album Cheaper Thrills.