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Living with the myth of Janis Joplin. The History of Big Brother & the Holding Co.1965-2005 Paperback – July 7, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1409284994 ISBN-10: 1409284999 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu Enterprises, UK Ltd; 1st edition (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409284999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409284994
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 0.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,432,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Spörke is a political scientist and author of music biographies. He lives near Duesseldorf in Germany. His first book "Living with the myth of Janis Joplin. The History of Big Brother & the Holding Co.1965-2005" was published in 2009. His second book "Big Mama Thornton: The Life and Music" was published in 2014.

Customer Reviews

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Because, undoubtedly, you know someone who will also enjoy this incredible book.
Boomerocity
Big Brother therefore is representative of all the overshadowed bands in music history.
janisforever
I just reread the first 30 pages and forgot what a truly insightful book this is.
Sherida Andrew

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Cabral on September 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Big Brother and The Holding Company is one of the legendary and almost mythical rock bands that brought the San Francisco Sound to the world. They along with The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and The Fish, and Quicksilver Messenger Service led the psychedelic tidal wave that swept the Haight Ashbury in 1967.

Michael Spoerke's book first came out in German and was aimed at German and Austrian readers and fans of Big Brother in those countries. Sam Andrew the talented linguist and guitarist in Big Brother translated Spoerke's book into English now making the book available to the English speaking audience.

This is a book any fan of Janis and Big Brother would want to add to their home library. While there have been many books on Janis this is the first to concentrate on the band the was indeed overshadowed by her huge stardom. Of course it wasn't always like that. When Janis first came to the group straight from Texas, she was just happy to be part of the band. As time went on and her star rose higher and higher she soon felt that she had outgrown the band and moved on to create other bands that would be her back up group (Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie).

Big Brother member James Gurley is given the credit he surely deserves as being the father of psychedelic guitar playing. James was way ahead of his time. The book introduces all the Big Brother members: James Gurley, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, and Dave Getz and describes each in depth before joining the group, while in the group and what they have done up to today.

The band continues to perform as Big Brother and The Holding Company and recently appeared all over the USA as part of the Heroes of Woodstock tour. Only Sam played at the 1969 Woodstock then with the Kozmic Blues Band.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By janisforever on June 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
What Mick Jagger is for the Rolling Stones, or Freddie Mercury for Queen, Janis Joplin was for Big Brother & the Holding Company. Joplin's story still determines the public view of the Band. Her passion for an intense life and her expressive singing made Janis famous. Like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison she is one of the outstanding stars of the Rock music of her time.
To many people, Big Brother and the Holding Company has always meant Janis Joplin. Big Brother, who gave Janis a platform for success by giving her the freedom and the energy to develop her musical style, were considered as amateurish and unprofessional by many reviewers. The critics downgraded Big Brother for a long time and in the Joplin biographies the band was marginalized. Janis Joplin became the singer of Big Brother in 1966, and in that group she found the space to become one of the best white blues singers in the world. Although Big Brother & the Holding Co. were known in the Bay Area of San Francisco a year before Janis Joplin joined them and although they still play today as an active band, there has never been written a real history of Big Brother.
This fame and glory of Janis Joplin overshadowed the band. Big Brother therefore is representative of all the overshadowed bands in music history. This book tells the band's story, how difficult it is to find an identity separate from that of Janis Joplin's overshadowing talent. As David Getz, the drummer of the band, says: "The fame of Big Brother is like a Golden Albatross. It hangs around your neck like a curse. But the curse is made of gold."
Big Brother & the Holding Co. were and are far more than a Janis Joplin backup band. They are, as music photographer Bob Seidemann says, "an organic, natural phenomenon, which grew like a plant from the soil.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Boomerocity on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Many people grow up in the shadow of an older sibling or an over achieving parent and feel like they always have to measure up, or that they're being compared to, the siblings or parents. It's well known that these environments create its fair share of emotional baggage and debris.

Michael Spörke's brilliant book, "Living with the Myth of Janis Joplin", gives the low down on an inverted version of this type of environment. The book chronicles the history of Big Brother and the Holding Company that was the first band that Janis Joplin worked with and who was the catalyst for her meteoric rise to fame.

Notice that I didn't say that BBHC was her back-up band. Nothing could be further from the truth. Janis Joplin hit the hippie scene of San Francisco with dreams of being a singer. The problem was that she didn't have a band. Through some already well documented introductions, she was invited to join the already successful Big Brother and the Holding Company.

With incredible research and exhaustive interviews, Spörke has put together a definitive history of this legendary band and its members. He gives appropriate historical backgrounds of each of the members of the band and the thoughts and perspectives that each of them had of each other, of Janis joining the group, and their life after Janis dumped them.

Unlike other books that mention the band as being in the shadow of Janis, there are no lurid details that cater to certain people's prurient and voyeuristic interests. Just great, insightful information about the major players in this bands history is offered up. It's a great, clean "read".

What's also detailed very thoroughly is the schism that was caused when the band was being categorized as Joplin's "band members".
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