Love, Janis

Author:  Laura Joplin
Publisher:  Villard Books
Copyright:  1992 by Laura Joplin
ISBN:  0-679-41605-6

Janis Joplin blazed across the sixties music scene, electrifying audiences with her staggering voice and the way she seemed to pour her very soul into her music.  No one who saw her onstage ever forgot her.  No less celebrated was her explosive public persona as a tough-talking, hard-drinking, wild-living blues mama.  By the time her life and artistry were cut tragically short by a heroin overdose, Joplin had become the stuff of rock-and-roll legend.
     Here is the first new view of Janis Joplin in two decades.  The author of this major biography is Janis's younger sister, Laura Joplin, who chanced upon a bundle of remarkable letters that Janis had written home.  They inspired Laura to explore more fully Janis's life and come to terms with her death.  The result is not merely an intimate memoir of a beloved sister, but a rich, full-blooded biography achieved through scores of interviews and deep personal empathy.
     Through the eyes of her family and closest friends, we see Janis as a young girl, already rebelling against injustice, racism, and hypocrisy in society, discovering Jack Kerouac and the Beats, and visiting forbidden Cajun bars in search of the blues.  We follow Janis as she discovers her amazing talents in the Beat hangouts of Venice and North Beach--singing in coffeehouses, shooting speed to enhance her creativity, challenging the norms of straight society.
     Janis truly came into her own in the fantastic, psychedelic, acid-soaked world of Haight-Ashbury.  Here is Janis living in a commune with the members of her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company; taking her bewildered family to a "happening" at the Avalon Ballroom; hanging out with the Grateful Dead and Hell's Angels; breaking out in triumphant performances at Monterey and in New York City; being acclaimed as the greatest blues singer since Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith.
     At the height of her fame, Janis's life is a whirlwind of public adoration and hard living.  Laura Joplin shows us not only the public Janis who could drink Jim Morrison under the table and bean him with a bottle of booze when he got fresh; she shows us the private Janis, struggling to perfect her art, searching for the balance between love and stardom, battling to overcome her alcohol addiction and heroin use in a world where substance abuse was nearly universal.
     At the heart of
Love, Janis is an astonishing series of letters by Janis herself that have never been previously published.  In them she conveys as no one else could the wild ride from awkward small-town teenager to rock-and-roll queen.

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