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JANIS JOPLIN at 70 – Watch the new lyric video for “Get it While You Can”

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I know I might get a little flack for this, but I’ve never been a big JANIS JOPLIN fan. My wife on the other hand… she’s about as big a Janis fan as you’ll find. In fact, her love of Joplin is why I have a 1968 concert poster and a couple of other pieces of Janis memorabilia hanging in my office. Today is Janis Joplin’s birthday, and she would’ve been 70 years old. To celebrate, the folks at Legacy Recordings have commissioned a new lyric video for “Get it While You Can,” and I’m sharing it with you below.

Janis Joplin is Legacy Recordings’ “Artist of the Month.” Joplin will be honored later in 2013 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Janis Joplin – Biography (courtesy Legacy Recordings)

Born January 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, Janis Joplin possessed one of the most distinctive, influential and unconventionally beautiful voices in pop history. Pure honey sweet and soul-ravaged raw, her voice was full of power and longing and heartbreak and triumph. She sang a mixture of blues, soul, gospel, jazz, country and rock that transcended genres and connected to the core of the cosmos. Earthy yet not-of-this-world, Janis Joplin embodied the primordial “rock mama” paradigm and the blues have never sounded the same.

janis2A self-described “misfit” in high school, she fell under the sway of Lead Belly, Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton in her teens, dabbling in folk music and painting. In 1963, she headed to San Francisco, where she met guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, her first link to the Haight-Ashbury underground music scene. By 1966, Janis had joined, and was ostensibly fronting, the psychedelic-rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. She was developing an extravagant persona, both on-stage and off, her passionate performances matched by an iconic sartorial splendor that’s become visually synonymous with the era. Janis and Big Brother’s increasingly high-profile shows earned them a devoted fan base and serious industry attention; they signed with Columbia Records and released their major-label debut in 1967. Joplin’s seismic presence, as evidenced by her shattering performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, was captured for posterity by filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker.

Big Brother’s “Piece of My Heart,” on 1968’s Cheap Thrills LP, shot to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, the album sold a million copies in a month, and Joplin became a sensation – earning rapturous praise from Time and Vogue, appearing on The Dick Cavett Show and capturing the imagination of audiences that had never experienced such fiery intensity in a female rock singer. Her emergence as a solo star was inevitable; she put together her own outfit, the Kozmic Blues Band, and in 1969 released I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! which went gold. That year also saw her perform at the Woodstock festival.

Joplin assembled a new backup group, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, in 1970; she also joined a bill with the Grateful Dead, the Band and other artists for the “Festival Express” railroad tour through Canada. Her final studio album, the landmark Pearl, introduced signature material including Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and her own a cappella plaint, “Mercedes Benz,” while showcasing her mastery of virtually all pop genres. The latter song was, along with a phone-message birthday greeting for John Lennon, the last thing she recorded; she died in October of 1970, and Pearl was released posthumously the following year. The quadruple-platinum set became the top-selling release of Joplin’s career and, in 2003, was ranked #122 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Janis Joplin’s recordings and filmed performances have secured her status as an enduring cultural icon, inspiring countless imitators and musical devotees. Myriad hit collections, live anthologies and other repackaged releases have kept her legend alive, as have one-woman shows such as the hit Love, Janis (which Joplin’s sister, Laura, helped create) and 2009’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe “Best Solo Performance” nominee Janis. A documentary produced by Alex Gibney, Susan Lacy and Jeff Jampol, directed by Amy Berg (“West Of Memphis”) is now in production. One Night With Janis Joplin, a critically acclaimed musical currently touring, has played to sold-out houses in Portland, Cleveland and Washington, DC, and has received nine Broadway World and two Cleveland Critic Circle Awards nominations.

In 1988, the Janis Joplin Memorial, featuring a bronze sculpture by artist Douglas Clark, was unveiled in Port Arthur.

Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and posthumously given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

For all things Janis, visit http://www.janisjoplin.com/ Get Janis Joplin music on iTunes.

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