Janis: Her Life and Music

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 22, 2019 - Biography & Autobiography - 400 pages
Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence

This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was.

Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. But even before that, she stood out in her conservative oil town. She was a tomboy who was also intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beats and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways, but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance.

Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in these pages, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco.

Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ozzer - LibraryThing

This is a well-crafted and thorough biography of Janis Joplin. In less skilled hands, it could have been just another cliche of "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" dooming a very talented young artist ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Tytania - LibraryThing

I love Janis Joplin and love being immersed in her story. I can't say I really learned anything in this bio that I hadn't from the several others that I have read. This one leaned heavily on Janis ... Read full review

Contents

Pioneer Stock
1
Tomboy
13
Thrill Seeker
24
Beat Weeds
36
18 and Fucked Up
51
Hell Raiser
66
Waller Creek Boy
72
Blues Singer
89
HaightAshburys First Pinup
175
Woman on the Verge
204
Rock Star Born on Second Avenue
224
Kozmic Blues
250
Pearl
280
Acknowledgments
317
Notes
323
Bibliography
349

Meth Freak and the Saturday Night Swindle
102
Texas Coed
115
Big Brothers Chick Singer
136
The Idol of My Generation
157
Index
353
Lyrics Credits
379
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Holly George-Warren is a two-time Grammy nominee and the award-winning author of sixteen books, including the New York Times bestseller The Road to Woodstock (with Michael Lang) and the biographies Janis: Her Life and Music, A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, and Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry. She has written for a variety of publications, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Entertainment Weekly. George-Warren teaches at the State University of New York in New Paltz.

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