Grammy Award-winning musician
Joplin is another case of a tragic early death prolonging a career. Although Joplin's ferocity and pain sound genuine, I never did understand what was so special about her. I do …”
Janis broke with local social traditions during the tense days of racial integration, standing up for the rights of African Americans whose segregated status in her hometown seared her youthful ideals. Along with fellow band beatnik-reading high school students, she pursued the non-traditional via arts and literature, especially music. They gravitated to folk and jazz with Janis especially taken with the blues. Discovering an inborn talent to belt the blues, Janis began copying the styles of Bessie Smith, Odetta and Leadbelly. She played the coffee houses and hootenannies of the day in the small towns of Texas. She later ventured to the beatnik haunts of Venice, North Beach and the Village in New York, eventually landing in Austin, Texas as a student at the University of Texas. Jumping into the on-the-edge lifestyle cultivated by the beats, Janis thrilled at her creativity, but almost lost herself in experiments with drugs and alcohol, especially speed.
Returning home for a year to question her life direction, she excelled at college but was never content. Music still called her to her in spite...