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JANIS JOPLIN :: Blog

Janis Jolts and Holds ‘em in Cleveland

Tuesday, October 27: 4:14 p.m.

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Were you there?  Do you remember when?  As we gear up for our 2009 American Music Masters celebration, Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin, a few friends and colleagues reminded us that the master herself graced different stages in Cleveland in 1968 and 1969, and her performances still resonate with attendees.  Jane Scott remembered that Janis exploded onstage at Public Hall in October of 1968.  Advertisements of Janis’ May gig at the same place were splashed across the pages of the Plain Dealer.  Pat Garling described her August 30, 1969 Blossom show as “musical magnificence.”  Whether you attended one of the Public Hall performances or the gigs at Blossom, what do you remember about them?  Did you “revel in psychedelic brainwash?”  Were you jolted and held?  What stayed with you?  Feel free to reminisce here, and share your unforgettable memories.

  • October 4, 1968:  Big Brother and the Holding Company at Public Hall
  • May 9, 1969:  Kozmic Blues at Public Hall
  • August 29, 1969: Janis ...

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Big Brother and the Holding Company Kick Off 14th Annual American Music Masters Honoring Janis Joplin

Monday, October 26: 4:17 p.m.
Big Brother and the Holding Company perform in the Rock Hall's Foster Theater.

Last Thursday, Big Brother and the Holding Company kicked off the 2009 American Music Masters celebration, Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin. Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, and Peter Albin, three original members of the band, spent the day in Cleveland to help us tell the full story of Janis Joplin’s career. They filmed interviews for our Library and Archives, did an interview and performed in our new Foster Theater, and capped the night with a packed show at the Beachland Ballroom. Clevelanders Mary Bridget Davies and Ben Nieves joined them on vocals and guitar.

Big Brother played their first gig in January of 1966, six months before Janis Joplin joined them. When they decided that they wanted another vocalist in the band, Chet Helms suggested his friend from Austin, Texas, Janis Joplin. On paper, it seems like an odd match: Big Brother was known for their energy and power—in retrospect, they seem like a punk band—but Joplin had never sung with a rock band before. Yet they found common ground in their love of blues and folk music, and they quickly discovered that Joplin could “bring it,” as Dave Getz said last week in ...


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