Sunday, May 09th

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Lady Day to Lady Tee: The Leading Ladies of Blue-Eyed Soul - Page 2

Janis Joplin

Though she’s primarily regarded as a rock artist for songs like the chart-topping, “Piece of My Heart,” Joplin’s gritty and soulful vocal style and her affinity for blues music (check out “One Good Man”) undoubtedly make her one of the original ladies of blue-eyed soul.

Joplin was born in 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas.  As a teenager she was exposed to blues artists Odetta, Big Mama Thornton, and Bessie Smith, whom she credits with inspiring her to become a singer. Always a social outcast, she explained why: “I read, I painted, I didn’t hate niggers.”

In 1963 she moved to San Francisco and joined the band Big Brother and the Holding Company.  Their debut album was released in 1967 and includes an exceptionally gutsy and poignant cover of Big Mama Thornton’s “Ball and Chain.” In 1969 Joplin split from her band and joined the Kozmic Blues Band, whose sound was influenced more by blues and soul.

However, by then she had developed a full-blown heroin addiction, which ultimately led to her sudden death in 1970. Joplin’s fatal overdose at age 27 makes her part of the 27 Club, but her daring eccentricity and raw talent make her a musical legend.

Reminds you of: Big Mama Thornton
Must listen to track: “Maybe” from the album “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!”