DALLAS, TEXAS: Called the most important female rock vocalist of the 1960s, Janis Joplin enjoyed a brief but powerful career as a singer and songwriter during a decade marked by turbulent social change. Although she only appeared on four albums – two solo and two with the group Big Brother and the Holding Company – her impact on the face of contemporary music is still being felt.
Born in Port Arthur, Texas on January 19, 1943, Joplin discovered the blues as a teenager, and was influenced by such artists as Leadbelly, Odetta, Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton. After a short stint at the University of Texas at Austin, she left Texas and moved to San Francisco in 1963, where she was more able to fully pursue her passion for music. It was also during this time that Joplin’s use of drugs and alcohol increased, a fact that would have tragic consequences several years later.
Joplin joined Big Brother and the Holding Company, a struggling Haight-Asbury band, in 1966. Shortly thereafter, the group signed with Mainstream Records and recorded their self-titled debut album, although it was not released until after the group’s triumphant performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967.
Monterey was the turning point in Joplin’s career. Virtually overnight, she went from being an obscure singer in an obscure band to one of the most respected and acclaimed musicians of the decade. Joplin would record one more album with Big Brother before striking out on her own.
Joplin formed several back-up bands during her solo career, including the Kozmic Blues Band, with whom she performed at Woodstock in 1969, and the Full Tilt Boogie Band, who accompanied her on her tour of Canada in 1970.
On October 4, 1970, while recording her final album, “Pearl,” Joplin was found dead in her hotel room of a heroin overdose. The album, which was released six weeks following her death, reached #1, as did the single, “Me and Bobby McGee,” and remains popular to this day.
“Joplin was a living legend,” said Doug Norwine, Director of Music and entertainment Auctions for Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, “famous not only for her distinctive vocal stylings, but for her flamboyant and then-controversial clothing and lifestyle. To many people, she personified San Francisco in the 1960s, and remains an icon of the Counter-Culture era.”
“Offered in our upcoming Music and Entertainment auction,” Norwine said, “is a gorgeous, scoop-necked knit mini-dress, a Colin Rose original design, which was owned and worn by Janis Joplin. The dress was a gift from Joplin to Christine Brooks, then Publicity Director for the Fillmore. This dress was one of two of the same design owned by Joplin; the other was the beige version she wore at the historic Monterey Pop Festival. Given to Brooks on a visit to Joplin’s home, the dress has been a treasured item ever since; this is the first time the piece has been available for auction. Luminous metallic blue threads woven throughout the violet dress add glimmer, and while incredibly short – it’s a very mini mini – the dress must have looked stunning on Joplin, with its bell sleeves accentuating her every gesture. This is a rare, one of a kind treasure from the wardrobe of ‘Pearl.'”
Heritage Auction Galleries will hold their upcoming Music and Entertainment Signature auction on October 6 & 7, 2007, at their headquarters in Dallas, TX.
Janis Joplin’s Knit Dress: http://www.HA.com/Entertainment/common/prlink.php?Sale_No=648&Lot_ID_No=104001&type=prte-pr071907a ESTIMATE: $20,000 & up
For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com .
Prospective consignors and sellers of Entertainment, Celebrity or Hollywood memorabilia are invited to www.HA.com/Sell. Or simply email Doug Norwine at DougN@HA.com or call 1-800-8782-6467, ext. 452.
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