CLEVELAND (September 15, 2009) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University along with Beachland Ballroom will host a special launch of the 14th Annual American Music Masters® series honoring Janis Joplin on Thursday, October 22 with an evening with her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company.

The annual event will continue the week of November 9, 2009 and the schedule of events and concert tribute lineup will be announced in the coming weeks.

The kickoff event begins at 5 p.m. in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater where original members of Big Brother Peter Albin, Sam Andrew and Dave Getz will tell their story through an intimate live interview. Immediately following, Big Brother will participate in an autograph signing. The Rock Hall interview is FREE and open to the public.  Please email or call (216) 515-8426 to RSVP.

“It’s appropriate that we kick off this year’s celebration with Big Brother and the Holding Company,” said Dr. Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “ Janis Joplin’s career as a rock singer began when she joined Big Brother—they were the perfect match. We’re thrilled that they can join us and help to tell Joplin’s incredible story.”

The evening will continue with Big Brother and the Holding Company performing live at the Beachland Ballroom.  Doors open at 7 p.m.  Big Brother will be joined by Cleveland’s own Mary Bridget Davies, the actress and vocalist who played Joplin in the Cleveland stage production “Love, Janis” inspired by Janis’ sister Laura’s best-selling book of the same name.  Tickets to the concert go on sale Friday, September 18 and are $18 in advance and $20 day of show. Visit

The Rock Hall will capture an oral history from the band to include in the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives which will open to the public in late 2010.

Now in its 14th year, the American Music Masters® series explores the legacy of a pioneering rock and roll figure in a range of events that includes Museum exhibits, lectures, films, a major conference and a tribute concert benefiting the Rock Hall’s education programs. Drawing together experts, artists, fans and friends, these events provide new perspectives on the most beloved and influential musicians of the past century.

The tribute concert brings together a diverse mix of artists and musical styles, and as a result, many magical moments have taken place over the years. In 2004, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss performed onstage together for the first time to honor Lead Belly. This year the pair was awarded the highest honors of Album of the Year for Raising Sand and Record of the Year for “Please Read the Letter” at the 51st annual Grammy awards. Honoree Jerry Lee Lewis, who was not scheduled to perform at the 2007 concert, was moved to take the stage at the end of the show. Lewis tenderly played the piano and sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” At the first American Music Masters tribute concert, Bruce Springsteen set the bar high and performed in honor of Woody Guthrie. The most star-studded and unique performance by a trio was Aretha Franklin, Solomon Burke and Elvis Costello paying tribute to Sam Cooke in 2005. Last year, a 93-year-old Les Paul took the stage with his trio and then led an epic jam with some of rock and roll’s greatest guitarists, from Jennifer Batten to Slash.

About Big Brother and the Holding Company

Big Brother and the Holding Company was formed by Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, James Gurley and Chuck Jones in San Francisco in 1965. They quickly became the house band at the Avalon Ballroom and began to develop a loyal following, largely due to the charismatic, pioneering guitar work of James Gurley.

During the winter of 1966, Chuck Jones left the band and was replaced by Dave Getz. Peter Albin was the main vocalist at this time, and although Sam helped out with the singing, it was time to find a singer who could match the group’s instrumental energy. A friend, Chet Helms, remembered Janis Joplin from his University of Texas days and brought her back to San Francisco, where she had tried to launch a singing career in 1963 and 1964. Janis came to town, sang a couple of tunes with the band and was enthusiastically welcomed into the group, playing her first Big Brother engagement at the Avalon Ball room in June of 1966. Big Brother had been a loose, ramshackle, experimenting ensemble and now, with Janis, the music became more structured and the band became a family.

In August 1966, Big Brother went to Chicago where they recorded their first album at Mainstream Records and in the ensuing months began to build an audience. June of 1967 brought the Monterey Pop Festival, where Janis became larger than life and propelled Big Brother into the national spotlight. Janis had the freedom to be herself and people responded to the power of the band and to Janis’ unique voice.

Janis left Big Brother in December 1968 and Sam Andrew went with her, while Peter Albin and Dave Getz joined Country Joe and the Fish.  In the fall of 1969, Peter, Sam, Dave and James resurrected Big Brother along with new members Dave Schallock, Nick Gravenites and Kathi McDonald and released two albums, Be A Brother (1970) and How Hard It Is (1971).

Recent Big Brother and the Holding Company CD releases have been Do What You Love, the Janis Joplin boxed set on Sony, Live At Winterland and now the band is preparing a new offering, a live recording of a concert in Burg Herzberg, Germany.

About the American Music Masters® Series
The American Music Masters® series, a co-production of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University, celebrates the lives and careers of artists who changed the shape and sound of American culture.

The American Music Masters® series began in 1996 when the museum paid tribute to Woody Guthrie with a 10-day celebration of his life and legacy. Other American Music Masters® series honorees have included: the father of country music, Jimmie Rodgers in 1997; blues legend, Robert Johnson in 1998; rhythm and blues pioneer, Louis Jordan in 1999; the legendary Muddy Waters in 2000; the “Empress” Bessie Smith in 2001; Hank Williams, the first country western superstar in 2002; Buddy Holly in 2003; folk-blues artist Lead Belly in 2004; Sam Cooke in 2005; Roy Orbison in 2006; Jerry Lee Lewis in 2007 and Les Paul in 2008. Artists who have performed at American Music Masters® include Solomon Burke, Elvis Costello, Aretha Franklin, Chrissie Hynde, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, Richie Sambora, Slash and The Ventures.

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $18 for adult residents of Greater Cleveland, $17 for seniors (65+), $13 for youth (9-12), children under 8 and Museum Members are always free, for information or to join the membership program call 216. 515.8425. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK or visit  The Museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

About Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is among the nation’s leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case Western Reserve is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case Western Reserve offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work.

Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities
Established in 1996 with a generous gift of endowment from Eric and Jane Nord to celebrate the achievements of the arts and humanities, the Center facilitates cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary collaborations that address questions and problems of broad human interest.