Today's "J" artist is an iconic blues singer who has influenced performers since her untimely death at the age of 27 years. Who is this vocal icon? It is not other than "Pearl," that is, the incomparable JANIS JOPLIN.
Janis Lyn Joplin was born on January, 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, TX. Her mother Dorothy was a registrar at a local college. Her dad, Seth was an engineer for Texaco Oil Company. Janis had two younger siblings, Michael and Laura Joplin. The Joplin family were conservative Christians who attended the church of Christ. Janis did not adopt her family's beliefs.
In school Janis befriended the outcasts. She began singing blues and folk music with her friends. She listened to, and was influenced by, the great blues artists of the day like Billie Holliday, Big Mama Thornton, Bessie Smith and others.
Janis was rebellious most of her life. She left Texas for northern California where she settled in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco. She recorded and album where a typewriter was used as a percussion instrument called the "Typewriter Tapes." During this period in her life Janis used a variety of drugs and copious amounts of alcohol. She became so emaciated from drug use that her friends persuaded her to return home to Port Arthur.
Once home, Janis changed her life and quit using drugs and alcohol. In 1966 Janis joined Big Brother and the Holding Company, a blues band with whom she recorded most of her best known songs such as "Piece of My Heart," "SummertimeB," "Down on Me" and so forth.
Janis played at tow of the most famous music festivals of the 1960's...The Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock. She also performed on the same stage as The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens and many others.
Janis battles substance abuse all of her adult life. She lost her battle on October 4, 1970, and died from a drug overdose just 16 days after Jimi Hendrix died from the same cause.
Janis Joplin is the quintessential blues singer who later blues singers are measured by. Janis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
As we continue on our Rock and Roll journey, I give you the band "JOURNEY." This band was formed in 1973 in San Francisco, CA. The original members came from the bands Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. Parenthetically, whoever came up with the name "Frumius Bandersnatch" must have been using some significantly powerful drugs. Just saying...but I digress!
Journey achieved it best commercial success between the years of 1978 through 1987. During this period Journey received 2 old records, 8 multi-platinum records, 1 diamond record and 18 top 40 singles. They sold a total of 47 million records worldwide.
The band hit it's commercial stride when lead singer, Steve Perry, joined the band in late 1977. Perry and Journey became a hit making machine releasing such hits as Wheel in the Sky, Lights, Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin, Who's Cryin Now, Open Arms, Don't Stop Believin, and Faithfully.
Journey, not unlike many other bands, have a history of multiple personnel changes throughout their existence. Journey changed its lineup from Lead Vocalists to various instrumentalists on a fairly regular basis. Despite these changes, Journey has maintained a loyal fan following and are still rocking to this day.