The little girl from Port Arthur, Texas, blossomed into the Pearl, and Janis Joplin’s voice — big, bluesy, scratchy, unlovely but full of emotion and pain and raw power — exploded at the Monterey Pop Festival during 1967’s Summer of Love.
Seemingly overnight, Joplin was propelled from Bay Area anonymity to superstar at Columbia Records, home of Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel and Miles Davis. “Ball and Chain,” “Summertime,” “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Piece of My Heart” became instant classics and gave rock chicks a voice in the sexist music world.
Joplin lived as hard as she sang, dying of an overdose in 1970 at age 27 while sealing her immortality. Her life has inspired movies and stage shows, and her dress sense plays muse to the fashion world, but her voice can’t be imitated.