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Janis: Her Life and Music

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  104 reviews
This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was.

Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Simon & Schuster
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A stunning portrait of the troubled, restless soul behind the big, brash, larger than life persona that was Janis Joplin-

Holly George-Warren is a seasoned music biographer, but this is the first book I’ve read of hers. Even with all her experience, the author chose to write about a person who was incredibly complex, conflicted, driven, unconventional and tormented. I would think that writing a biography over Janis would be a daunting task and more than a little intimidating. However, the author
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a Janis Joplin fan by any means, but am a rock biography fan. I was constantly drawn to the riveting photo of Janis Joplin on this book's cover, and finally caved in to request an arc of this biography. Sometimes I enjoy reading a biography of a person I know next to nothing about, as is the case here.

This is a 400-page extensive biography tracking Janis Joplin's youth through her death in 1970 at the age of 27. She grew up in Port Arthur, Texas to parents Dorothy and Seth Joplin and
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very detailed, informative, and well researched book on the life of Janis that encompasses her short life and career.
This award winning author was given access to the Joplin family and letters, diaries, interviews with the singers friends and band mates.
It was so sad how lonely and emotionally tortured Janis was growing up, and she actually fell into singing by accident.
She LOVED Otis Redding and Bessie Smith.
The tragic thing was that as she became famous.. what she always really
Valerity (Val)
Welcome to the late 1960s, the time of Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison and others. As a nervous Janis Joplin is trying to make a go of it with the band called Big Brother and the Holding Company. They start playing gigs all over and learning to mesh together and get better as they do. Janis really starts to come into her own with her singing and stage presence and the audiences go wild for her. Word spreads and she begins to get some good reviews. They finally ...more
Janis: Her Life and Music

She takes my breath away. It is astonishing that she was the same age as my mother, and yet seems closer in age to me. Although I’ve spent many hours with guitars, bandmates and singing on my own, listening to favorite groups and collecting favorites like the rest of the world, my Janis Joplin blindspot has been significant. Prior to reading this book, I knew her name, knew she was loud and a trouble magnet. I always thought she was entrancing in a witchy way, full of
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This biography chronicles the train-wreck life of Janis Joplin. She was different from her 1950’s peers in conservative Port Arthur, Texas, dressing like a beatnik when the other girls wore bobby socks and poodle skirts, getting a reputation that horrified her mother. She was by all accounts a wild child, challenging her parents but craving their love; they were unhappy when she claimed that they threw her out of the house, which apparently wasn’t true. The book brings a sense of immediacy to ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Janis Joplin's voice. Her earthy vocals and the way she clearly put her soul into her performances makes her music so enjoyable for me. I knew she had a rough time growing up in Texas. I knew she was a bit of a rebel who lived life by her own set of rules. And I knew how she died. But I really didn't know much about her life, her friends and family, and her personality until I read this book.

I'm so glad I read this book! It gives intimate details about Janis' childhood and
M. Sarki
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

More is generally made of Janis Joplin being outrageous and provocative in order to draw attention to herself. A smart, but troubled child, who could never overcome her need to be loved. Contrary to Bob Dylan’s great song, She Belongs to Me, Joplin was an artist who did look back. What is not made enough of was Joplin’s personal style, her acceptance of her inadequate body, and the courage she displayed in posing nude.

...Just four days before her death
NetGalley ARC.

Dull, dull. So disappointed. This was a blow-by-blow chronological biography. So there was a lot of unnecessary minutiae that really took away from the excitement of JANIS JOPLIN. Like, hello? She's one of the coolest female rockers EVER and this book hardly portrayed that. You have to slog through at least half the book of her parents' childhoods, her childhood, her schooling, finally her musical tastes and influences, and then the good stuff. Meh. I could've done without it.
Lee Husemann
I was not a fan of Janis Joplin's music when she was popular but I watched a biography about her on TV and became interested in her. This was an excellent book about Janis from the time she was born until her tragic death at the age of 27. in 1970. It was well researched and well written and I had a hard time putting it down. I was surprised to find out what a talented artist she was as well as being a very talented musician. Even if you are not a fan of her type of music, I highly recommend ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Janis Joplin died from a heroin overdose at the tender age of twenty-seven. That's the single fact that people of a certain age know about her life. It's the unfortunate asterisk that accompanies the posthumous reputation of a talented, passionate woman who was so much more than the tragic way in which she left us.

I went through my own sheltered-lass-set-loose-upon-an-unsuspecting-world phase in my late teens and early twenties. I consumed colossal amounts of alcohol in various forms, but I was
Waleska 'Wally'
Since I saw the movie The Rose , way back in the late '80 - and I just dated myself - I began listening and appreciating Janis's singular voice and music.

That movie made me curious , as it was loosely based on her tumultuous life .

Through the years, I read few articles and saw TV clips of Janis performing but always wanted to know more of her as a person , as a woman , as daughter and as an artist. The complete psychological makeup of who she was and how she became Janis, the persona , the
Karen Kay
I received this from for a review.

From the blurb, "This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was."

Although a rather dry read, this is a chronological look at Joplin's childhood and her life as she rose to stardom.

2.75 stars
Caroline Leavitt
I wasn't sure that there was anything about Janis Joplin that might be new to say, but this bio was exhilarating. Fresh, different, it gets at the soul of Janis herself, from childhood to stardom. Plus, the writing is so great, so immersive, it gives you this you-are-there feeling.
Bonnye Reed
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, music
I received a free electronic copy of this biography from Netgalley, Holly George-Warren, and Simon Schuster. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Janis: Her Life and Music of my own volition and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. This is a book every woman should read.

Janis was - and still is - an important factor in my lifetime. She was a wonderful musician, and she brought happiness or tears to your eyes with her songs. She was for me an example of
The Lexington Bookie
Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for an EARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Janis Joplin is THEE queen of classic rock and roll, and George-Warren does a great job collecting the pieces of her all too short career. Janis was a phenomenon during a time period where women didn't sing the blues, let alone a white woman from a well-off family. Despite the squeaky image Janis had growing up, she never fit the status quo- always a tomboy, also marching to the beat of her
Eva Smith
Oct 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Big thumbs down. This is the sixth book I have read about Janis Joplin and I didn’t expect to learn anything new. But I didn’t expect sloppy journalism that includes idle tittle-tattle. The author apparently interviewed anybody and everybody who would say he/she had sex with Janis. Buzzards picking her bones.

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
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 painful stars. She was/will remain one of my all time favorite rock n rollers. I had stood not 5 feet away from her onstage at Syracuse University, for a student fee of about 3 bucks and just could not stop staring at her. I just couldn't inhale her enough. She mesmerized me. I adored her voice, her on-stage joie; her hair (yup, mine looked alot like hers so I was good with that), her song choice, her love of Bessie Smith. I worried about her drugging and drinking (yup, she held that bottle of ...more
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Janis Joplin was an icon who lived her life through music. Her life was filled with ups and downs. A roller coaster of highs and lows. She made strong and lasting friendships but was always searching for an elusive forever love, at times leaving her betrayed and always lonely.

Holly George-Warren takes the reader on the odyssey of Janis's life. A life of non-comfority, rejection, strength, determination, depression, success, addiction, recovery and relapse. She would sing to hundreds and
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading “Janis”. I haven’t read any other books about her, or even watched any documentaries about her, so this was my first deep look into the background behind this amazingly talented singer. I had heard several things about her over the years in passing, but there was so much presented in this book that I did not know, and I gobbled it all up. Though a biography of sorts, I found a lot of it to be an easier read than most, maybe because the content was based on Janis’ ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s hard not to be somber throughout the reading of this book and while writing this review because we all know how the biography is going to end. But the humanity, love, and understanding Holly George-Warren uses to unfold Janis’s many layers of talent and emotion make it a book well worth reading.
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
Paul Pessolano
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Janis, Her Life and Music” by Holly George-Warren, published by Simon & Schuster.

Category – Biography Publication Date – October 22, 2019.

This is an excellent biography of a person who well has passed through history. There are very few of us who have heard of Janis Joplin or knew of her story and music.

Janis was born in Texas and showed early signs of being not only intelligent but creative. Although she never thought she had an apt for music, she became a very accomplished
...more Biography & Memoir
Janis Joplin (1943-1970) was one of the freest of free spirits, though a slave to dangerous habits and a prisoner of her own desperate dreams. Author Holly George-Warren has brought the rock star’s personal pains and public escapades to new life in this engrossing account.

Joplin was the first child of a caring, artistic mother and a rather intellectual father who paid special favor to his oldest child --- photographing her, taking her to libraries and introducing her to classic literature. His
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-music-bio
Janis: Her Life and Music
by Holly George-Warren
due 10-22-2019
Simon and Schuster

#netgalley #Janis

Chronicling Janis Joplins extensive music career, and provocative lifestyle, Holly George-Warrens extensive research and innate ability to connect to the essence of Janiss iconic personality and flair, has given us a peek into the motivations and the soul of a woman and performer who has meant so much to so many. Janis fascinated me with her vivacious energy and amazing musical voice. Her
John Spiller
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I'm not a big Janis Joplin fan, but she lived a fairly epic 27 years and Holly George-Warren gives a fairly compelling account of her life. In a sense, Janis Joplin is the female counterpart to Jim Morrison. Both died at 27 due to ingestion of overly pure heroin, apparently from the same dealer. In the ensuing years, they have developed into archetypes of the Dionysian "live fast, die young" rock star. Both were troubled, though Janis comes by it naturally, basically being an ...more
I have only known Janis Joplin in the abstract, knew she was around, her music of the hippie age and knew she died of a drug overdose, the world loosing her talent too soon. So when this book popped up on my library's website I clicked on it.

Learning about Janis life was a bit eye opening. I loved that she did what she wanted and didn't care what people thought of her, yet hated how Janis felt alone even when surrounded by people that loved her and how she just wanted to be loved. I wished she
Margery Osborne
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the early insights but after Monterey Pops the book kind of became a list of Janis did this and Janis was with these (famous) people and I got bored and started skimming. there was no post death discussion of her impact either as a musician or person on the friends, family or musical world. thats a shame cause thats why a person reads these things isn't it? I mean, at least personally, I know the facts already. anyhow a good read although the density of cliches is pretty high but I put ...more
Paul Ataua
I have always been fascinated by Janis Joplin. At a time when we were all trying to find ourselves existentially, she was the one that seemed to be living her life straight. She was doing things in good faith while we were just making empty gestures towards being who we were. The book seems like one sad testament to a character who was one of those rare characters who was determined to do exactly what she really wanted to do, but at no point really knew what she really wanted to do. There’s lots ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, netgalley

I’ve always been fascinated and shocked by the stories from icons of the 70’s who did tons of sex, drugs and rock n roll. And I wonder how did not more people die during this reckless over sexed time in history? Janis was intense and troubled as she peruses her purpose and goals. She was basically a social outcast at school and didn’t seem to have anyone she was close to growing up. She loved both men and women in her life and never fit in. She was parents of a musical Christian mother and
Claudia Remenar
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fittingly, I read this book while on a trip to San Francisco. I walked many of the same streets Janis walked, only 50 years later. On my path from my hotel to my daughter's house, I passed by the Bill Graham Theatre and then the site of the former Fillmore West, now a car detailer. Think of all that happened there!
If you're looking for a light, quick read, this isn't it. The author goes deep into Janis's psyche and interviews pretty much every person who ever knew her. At times it can slog
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NetGalley Readers: Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren 13 31 Sep 07, 2019 11:39AM  

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