Top Ten Songs by Janis Joplin

Janis Lyn Joplin was born January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas. It was and remains a small, southern, petroleum industry town where youngsters did not have much in the way of recreation. Janis gravitated toward artistic interests and her parents supported her in those. Janis was an outspoken young person and took a stand against racial segregation in her small southern town.

Being so interested in the various arts, it was only a matter of time before young Janis discovered her own innate singing ability. She loved the blues and began to imitate her favorites such as Bessie Smith, Odetta and Leadbelly. She began to share her talents and performed in area coffee houses and taverns. As a young adult she became a student at the University of Texas. The student life was short lived however, music called to Janis and she returned home to ponder her life choices. Already experimenting with drugs and alcohol, Janis reveled in the freedom of the new emerging hippie lifestyle.

A friend from home Chet Helms, had found himself in California during the early hippie days and called Janis to his side, wanting her to sing for a rock and roll group “Big Brother and the Holding Company.” Janis took the gig and the group became an instant local success. They played many gigs up and down the Bay area to packed houses. They played their own unique style of music that only accentuated Janis’s one of a kind voice and sound. She was a hit.

In 1966 Janis and Big Brother and the Holding Company went on their first real road trip to Chicago. For a month they played area bands and recorded their first album at Mainstream Records. Then with their performance at the famed Monterey International Pop Festival their own national fame finally occurred. Janis’s charged sexual performance and the mournful, soul-filled sound of her voice propelled the group into stardom. After this success, the group hired a different manager who was able to garner them a contract with Columbia Records where they cut their second album Cheap Thrills. It was number one on the charts for eight weeks and went gold. The billing changed to Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The were big time now with bigger crowds, bigger ticket prices and even bigger drug habits.

Janis eventually left Big Brother and the Holding company. She started another group and cut a new album “I Got Dem ‘Ol Kozmic Blues Again, Mama.” Although it got luke warm reviews in the states it was a huge success overseas. During the next year or so a light bulb is said to have gone off in Janis’s head. She began to tire of her drugging and drinking ways and stopped. She hit a stride in her performances that she was especially proud of, feeling that she had finally achieved her own personal best. It was at this time that she formed a third group called, Full Tilt Boogie Band. While recording her next album, Pearl, she happened across a chance to do heroine again. Unfortunately she took it. It was unusually pure. More so than she had been used to before and the dosage was lethal. She died alone of an overdose in a Los Angeles motel room at the tender age of 27. Pearl was released after her death and she was never able to enjoy the wide popularity that two of her songs achieved. Me and Bobby McGee and Mercedes were two of her biggest hits of all time. Janis’s albums have gone gold, platinum, and triple-platinum. Her “Greatest Hits” album still tops the charts in Billboard.

Below is a list of her top ten biggest selling hits of all time:

Down on Me

Bye, Bye Baby

I Need a Man to Love

Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)

Cry Baby

‘Ball and Chain,’ “

Piece of My heart

Me and Bobby McGee

Mercedes Benz.”

All Is Loneliness

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