Smithsonian Collections

Janis Joplin (with Big Brother and the Holding Company)

Image for Janis Joplin (with Big Brother and the Holding Company)
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Label
Janis Joplin’s (1943–1970) first years out of high school were characterized by aimless drift. But somewhere along the line she began singing in coffeehouses, and in 1966 she accepted an invitation to be the lead vocalist for the San Francisco rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Patrons of local nightclubs loved her shrill, rasping style, and in 1967 she took the country by storm with her rendition of "Love Is Like a Ball and Chain" at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Joplin performed with an electrifying ferocity and consumed large quantities of whiskey, both on and off the stage. That combination led many to think that she would soon burn out, but she shrugged, "When I can’t sing, I’ll worry about it then." That was something she never had to confront. In late 1970, Joplin died at age twenty-seven from a drug overdose.
Herb Greene, born 1942
Janis Joplin, 19 Jan 1943 - 4 Oct 1970
Samuel Andrew, 18 Dec 1941 - 12 Feb 2015
David Getz, born 1938
James Gurley, 22 Dec 1939 - 20 Dec 2009
Peter Albin, born 1944
1966 (printed 2005)
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Arlette and Gus Kayafas
Gelatin silver print
Image: 39.2 x 38.8 cm (15 7/16 x 15 1/4")
Sheet: 55.5 x 45.3 cm (21 7/8 x 17 13/16")
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Janis Joplin: Female
Janis Joplin: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Rock
Samuel Andrew: Male
Samuel Andrew: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician
Samuel Andrew: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Songwriter
Samuel Andrew: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Guitarist
Samuel Andrew: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Arranger
David Getz: Male
David Getz: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer
James Gurley: Male
James Gurley: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician
Peter Albin: Male
Peter Albin: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician
Restrictions & Rights
© Herb Greene