The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

back to profile

Jann Wenner on Janis Joplin

The first time I saw Janis, she was singing in a storefront club in Berkeley, in front of about 75 people, and you could see she was raw, and she was powerful, but she was incredibly riveting. And then after that, living there, I heard her perform dozens and dozens of times, in all kind of clubs, small clubs, ballrooms, the Fillmore Ballroom, the Avalon Ballroom, and then in the park, the Golden Gate Park, and all the free concerts, and Monterey Pop, of course. And then we watched her career take off, and it was great fun, and it was a great privilege to see what happened to Janis, and how it just exploded for her. But then, seeing it come to a premature, and of course, tragic end, was really sad for all of us who lived there then, and very heartbreaking. She was one of the great voices, you know, and she was one of the great performers of her time, and she was a great symbol, and spoke in a way that was so special for the women of that time.