Smithsonian Collections

Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company

Image for Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Label
When Texas-born singer Janis Joplin (1943–1970) joined the San Francisco band Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966, she propelled the group to the top of the rock scene. A passionate, bluesy singer with a raw, powerful voice, Joplin electrified audiences with her sexualized performance style, delivered with explosive movements and wailing, whispering, and shrieking. One writer described her as a "mixture of Leadbelly, a steam engine, Calamity Jane, Bessie Smith, an oil derrick, and rot-gut bourbon." Before her 1970 death of a drug overdose at age twenty-seven, Joplin had become a female rock icon.
The distinctive lettering and vivid colors of the psychedelic rock posters helped launch a poster collecting craze. As advertising images, portraits of film and music celebrities, and political propaganda wallpapered bedrooms and dorm rooms, the poster became a statement of one’s personal affiliations and a visual symbol of the era.
Patrick Lofthouse, born 4 Jul 1937
Copy after
Tom Weir, born 1935
Janis Joplin, 19 Jan 1943 - 4 Oct 1970
James Gurley, 22 Dec 1939 - 20 Dec 2009
Peter Albin, born 1944
Samuel Andrew, 18 Dec 1941 - 12 Feb 2015
David Getz, born 1938
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Jack Banning
Color photolithographic poster
Image/Sheet: 53.7cm x 35.8cm (21 1/8" x 14 1/8")
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
Janis Joplin, James Gurley, Peter Albin, Samuel Andrew, and David Getz
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