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Janis: Her Life and Music Hardcover – Illustrated, October 22, 2019
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— Rosanne Cash, four-time Grammy Award winner
“The definitive portrait of one of pop culture’s most misunderstood martyrs… In dwelling so sympathetically on her tangle of talents, contradictions, and mythology, Janis brings one of rock’s most enduring legends down to earth while holding her justly up to the light.”
— Vanity Fair
“Performs a service by stripping away a lot of the noise around Joplin... telling her story simply and well, with some of the tone and flavor of a good novel.”
— New York Times Book Review
“By far and away the most comprehensive and best-researched Joplin biography. It’s an extraordinary life, set to a legendary rock death arc, but the triumph of Janis is that George-Warren understands that the evolution of Joplin’s artistry is what matters most. Janis blossoms as she finds her voice onstage, and her act becomes something of great beauty. So too does George-Warren’s book.”
— Charles R. Cross, New York Times bestselling author of Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix
“Impressive... Like Joplin herself, Janis delivers the most thrilling sort of pathos.”
— Texas Observer
“Empathetic and thrilling. Like an investigative reporter, George-Warren has tracked down every detail of Janis’s young life and influences, and with loving care she has given us rare insight into this genius musician.”
— Kate Pierson, The B-52s
— No Depression
“Illuminating… A top-notch biography of one of the greatest performers to emerge from a brilliant era.”
— Kirkus (starred review)
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.37 pounds
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1476793107
- ISBN-13 : 978-1476793108
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Illustrated edition (October 22, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #46,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Adding insult to injury, the author cites a couple of what sounded like joking remarks and writes that Janis turned to prostitution on a couple of occasions. Nonsense.
And there is a big gaffe. In my phrase collection is “Saturday Night Swindle.” It is a phrase that Janis heard from her father’s friend. In the book, the author says the phrase was said by her father. Here is the story from a more credible source: Janis herself:
THE GREAT SATURDAY NIGHT SWINDLE – “She (Janis Joplin) liked to tell a story about herself, explaining how she came to understand the world and her place in it. It started with her father, Seth Joplin, the only person in Port Arthur who ‘made her think.’ When she was twenty years old and still struggling with her desire to become a singer, she wrote him a long letter about her frustrations and unmet expectations:
‘(You) always told me it was going to get better, and I always thought it was an incline up, that one day would level off. And you know, [bleep], it ain’t leveling off…People used to tell me, when you grow up, it’ll be okay, or when you get the right man, it’ll be okay. I did all those things and it wasn’t okay…I felt burned.’
"She mailed her father the letter. Seth Joplin had a best friend, ‘the only other intellectual in town,’ she explained. ‘This guy also dug me a lot and thought a lot of me. And my father showed him the letter.’ The next time she returned home to Port Arthur, her father’s best friend walked in, ‘with a sly smile on his face and he reached out his hand and said, ‘Well, Janis, I hear ya heard about the Great Saturday Night Swindle.’ She had never heard the phrase before, but she understood it immediately – this was the root of the Kosmic Blues…” From “A Bad Woman Feeling Good: Blues and the Women Who Sing Them” by Buzzy Jackson (W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 2005). Page 231.
I became an avid Janis fan when I was a young girl. She could belt out her emotions, sing in a range of variations like no other, and my most favorite part, she was finally a girl like me doing what I loved and respected. I liked the other bands out there, but Janis was one of the very few female voices of that era and the only one of her time who could bring tears to your eyes. My heart broke when we lost her.
I had learned snippets and bits about Janis over the years since her accidental death (I honestly can’t say she wanted out, she simply wanted to not feel for a minute), but this detailed book dwells on what’s important: Janis, her feelings, her thoughts, her letters home, and the overwhelming talent that she couldn’t grasp and rein in.
What a beautiful portrayal of this young lady, her loving family, her good and bad friends. She was light-years ahead of her time. Holly, I thank you for showing respect to Janis and her memory.
(I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for making it available.)