#50GreatestConcerts: Janis Joplin, 1968
The blues legend’s tour with Big Brother and the Holding Company was a triumph wrought from chaos
Like so much of Janis Joplin’s career, the tour to support Cheap Thrills, her 1968 album with Big Brother and the Holding Company, was a triumph wrought from chaos. On the eve of the tour, the singer announced she was leaving the band, leading to screaming fights with some of the musicians. Yet that very tension–combined with grueling album sessions that tightened what, as drummer Dave Getz admits, “wasn’t a tight band”–made for a riveting farewell. The combination of her wild-child rasp and Big Brother’s wailing blues rock proved transformative. “By the end of ’68,” says Getz, “I don’t think there was a singer in rock & roll who could touch her.”
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Watch Janis Joplin perform with Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1968 in San Francisco: