Home / Music & Arts / Remembering the life of Janis Joplin 35 years after death

Remembering the life of Janis Joplin 35 years after death

Janis Joplin died Oct. 4, 1970 at the age of 27.ASSOCIATED PRESS

Janis Joplin died Oct. 4, 1970 at the age of 27.

She’s remembered for her powerful bluesy voice, her flowy feathered red hair and a troubled habit that accompanied her talent.

Janis Joplin’s short-lived but successful career ended 35 years ago Sunday, when the singer fatally overdosed on heroin in 1970 — just about two weeks after another so-called “27 club” member, Jimi Hendrix, died from mixing pills and alcohol.

Known as “the Queen of Psychedelic Soul,” Joplin rose to fame in the band, Big Brother and the Holding Company.

The breakout member emerged as a solo artist, with hits such as “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Love is Like a Ball and Chain.”

Growing up in Port Arthur, Texas, Joplin’s childhood was filled with excellent grades and incidents of low self esteem.

As with many outcasts, she turned to music, singing in her church’s choir. By college, she was carrying her guitar with her everywhere in case the urge to break into song appeared.

Her college experience was marked by harrassment and she escaped to San Francisco. She arrived during the city’s rock upsurge and began singing professionally in 1966.

She quickly went from a drifter to superstar, coming on to the scene in a time when men mainly dominated the rock and roll industry.

Little more than three years later, the singer, who frequently took refuge in drugs and alcohol, was found dead in a Hollywood hotel.

Since then she’s joined a field of rock legends, known just as much for her persona, as for her music.

Here are some lesser-known facts to know about the psychedelic rocker:

1. She was once arrested

Rock singer Janis Joplin performs in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 17, 1969, shortly before she was arrested on profanity charges. The singer allegedly used obscenities over the loudspeaker system after police with bullhorns interrupted her performance while controlling the crowd. (AP Photo) AP

Rock singer Janis Joplin performs in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 17, 1969, shortly before she was arrested on profanity charges. The singer allegedly used obscenities over the loudspeaker system after police with bullhorns interrupted her performance while controlling the crowd. (AP Photo)

Enlarge Rock singer Janis Joplin, 26, shows a victory sign as she leaves police headquarters with her attorney, Herbert Goldburg, in Tampa, Fla., on Nov. 20, 1969. Joplin had a preliminary hearing on obscenity charges lodged against her when she allegedly cursed a police who interupted a performance. (AP Photo) AP

Rock singer Janis Joplin, 26, shows a victory sign as she leaves police headquarters with her attorney, Herbert Goldburg, in Tampa, Fla., on Nov. 20, 1969. Joplin had a preliminary hearing on obscenity charges lodged against her when she allegedly cursed a police who interupted a performance. (AP Photo)

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Janis Joplin performs shortly before being arrested in 1969. She is then shown leaving police headquarters with her attorney.

Her behavior could be explosive.

In 1969, while performing in Tampa, Fla., she was arrested for screaming obscenities at a policeman.

She was allowed to finish her performance before being cuffed. The charges were later dropped, with the judge saying she was exercising her right to freedom of speech.

2. She owned a rockin’ Porsche convertible

Matching her personality was a psychedeliclly painted Porsche Cabriolet Joplin drove.

The car was placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after her death.

The colorfully customized 1965 automobile will go on auction in December.

A WEDNESDAY, OCT. 9, 2013 PHOTOGerry Broome/AP

Joplin’s icon Porsche will be auctioned Dec. 10, 2015.

3. She was frequently bullied

Before she was a star — a term she once told host Dick Cavett she hated — Joplin was the victim of school bullying.

She was an overweight teenager with skin that broke out so terribly it left scars and required surgery.

Her classmates taunts followed her into college. While at Texas University, one of the fraternities voted her “ugliest man on campus.”

She dropped out of the school after one semester.

4. She once attacked Jim Morrison

Joplin’s love for Southern Comfort is well-known, so much so that the distillery once gifted her a fur coat for the free publicity she brought the company.

One night, she smashed a bottle of her favorite drink over Jim Morrison’s head.

The Doors’ frontman passed out until the next day, when he said “What a great woman, she’s terrific,” according to the book “Break On Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison.”

Morrison even fetched Joplin’s phone number but the songstress wasn’t interested.

Coincidentally, Morrison also became a member of the “27 club,” when he died almost a year after Joplin.

This is an undated photo of rock and roll guitarist Jimi Hendrix at an unknown location. (AP Photo/HO) **NO SALES** AP

This is an undated photo of rock and roll guitarist Jimi Hendrix at an unknown location. (AP Photo/HO) **NO SALES**

Enlarge ** FILE ** The late Jim Morrison of the rock group "The Doors" is shown in this undated photo. French radio personality Sam Bernett, whose French-language book is called "The End: Jim Morrison," claims Morrison died in a toilet stall of his nightclub, after what he believes was a heroin overdose. Bernett, who was in his early 20s when Morrison died in 1971, went on to become a prominent radio personality, rock biographer and a vice president of Disneyland Paris. Though he was pestered by reporters for years about rumors surrounding Morrison's death, he kept his story quiet until his wife suggested writing a book last year. (AP Photo/file) ASSOCIATED PRESS

** FILE ** The late Jim Morrison of the rock group “The Doors” is shown in this undated photo. French radio personality Sam Bernett, whose French-language book is called “The End: Jim Morrison,” claims Morrison died in a toilet stall of his nightclub, after what he believes was a heroin overdose. Bernett, who was in his early 20s when Morrison died in 1971, went on to become a prominent radio personality, rock biographer and a vice president of Disneyland Paris. Though he was pestered by reporters for years about rumors surrounding Morrison’s death, he kept his story quiet until his wife suggested writing a book last year. (AP Photo/file)

Enlarge FILE - This is an undated file photo of the late Rolling Stone guitarist Brian Jones. British police say they will review the 1969 death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. Sussex Police said Monday Aug. 31, 2009 that they've received papers from an investigative journalist that relate to the former Stone's death. (AP Photo/File) ASSOCIATED PRESS

FILE – This is an undated file photo of the late Rolling Stone guitarist Brian Jones. British police say they will review the 1969 death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. Sussex Police said Monday Aug. 31, 2009 that they’ve received papers from an investigative journalist that relate to the former Stone’s death. (AP Photo/File)

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Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison of The Doors and Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones were members of the “27 club” and all died between 1969 and 1971, along with Janis Joplin.

5. She paid for Bessie Smith’s tombstone

One of the outcasts Joplin befriended as a teen introduced her to an album from blues artist Bessie Smith.

The singer would come to be an inspiration for Joplin.

Smith, who died in 1937, was buried in an unmarked grave until Joplin paid for the tombstone in 1970.

6. She changed her will two days before her death

Joplin left $ 2,500 for her friends to throw a wake party in the event of her demise.

“The drinks are on pearl,” she wrote.

Pearl was her nickname amongst her friends and the title of her last album, which was her biggest seller.

Her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

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