One of the most powerful singers of the Sixties found her voice in San Francisco. A blues aficionado, Janis Joplin was drawn to the purest source material—Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Lead Belly—while living a lonely adolescence. Joplin performed folk blues on the coffeehouse circuit before joining Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. She sang with feverish power, finding a release in Big Brother’s psychedelic blues-rock. Joplin died of a drug over-dose on October 4, 1970, while working on her second solo album. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
Janis Joplin God’s Eye
Gift of Rolling Stone Magazine View Eye
Janis Joplin Undipped Blotter Acid Sheet
Design by Robert Crumb
Gift of Philip and Julie Cushway, Artrock
Robert Crumb was one of the founders of the underground comics movement. He designed the cover of Cheap Thrills, the first album by Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company. View Acid Sheet
Janis Joplin Scarf and Necklaces
Gift of Rolling Stone Magazine
View Scarf and Necklace
Janis Joplin Porsche
Janis Joplin paid about $3500 for this 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet when she bought it from a Beverly Hills auto dealer in September 1968. Prior to the sale, the dealer had painted the car oyster white. Joplin, however, wanted something more dramatic, and Dave Richards, a friend and Big Brother roadie, created this psychedelic design, which includes an image of Janis and Big Brother on the front left fender.
The car quickly became identified with Joplin, who drove it around San Francisco, where she lived, and down to Los Angeles, where she recorded. Whenever she parked it somewhere, fans would leave notes under the wipers. Once, while Joplin was at a gig, the car was stolen. The thief spray painted it gray, but when it was retuned, Joplin found an auto shop that was able to recover the psychedelic finish.
A few months after Joplin’s death in 1970, her family gave the car to Albert Grossman, Janis’ manager. He kept it in Bearsville, New York, where it was used by visiting artists, friends and clients. In 1973, he returned the car to the Joplins, who used it as a family car.
The car has been restored several times over the years. Most of the engine and body parts are original. The seats have been re-covered, and the cloth on the convertible top is new. The body was repainted as close as possible to the original design by the Denver Center Theatre Company paint shop in 1994. View Porsche