Janis Joplin was an American singer that is considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time by the music publication Rolling Stone. She was born in Port Arthur, Texas back on January 19, 1943 and spent much of her younger years cultivating a life of rebelliousness and unconventionality. Because of her wayward ways, unconventional dress and personal beliefs, she was often ridiculed. To offset her displeasure of her early home life, Janis took to the choir, using music as an outlet for her discontent. It was during her time spend singing in the choir that she became interested in blues singers, such as Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton, going so far as to credit these singers for influencing her musical career later in life.
Known for taking her auto-harp and guitar with her everywhere she went, Janis quickly began creating an image for herself. Unfortunately, with the climate in Texas being what it was at that time, her outlandish dress and liberal ideas about race, music and everything else only solidified her as a "freak" to those around her. With her own tolerance of her conservative surroundings quickly wearing thin, she packed up her guitar and auto-harp and headed to San Francisco. The lax lifestyle she encountered there is what eventually led her to start doing drugs, everything from speed to hallucinogens, and her drinking increased as well. Her friends, seeing her drug and alcohol use spiraling out of control convinced her to go back home to Port Arthur, which she did. Once there, Janis was able to get sober. A couple of years later, she once again returned to San Francisco. Before long she was making records and a name for herself, but her drug and alcohol problem were always just outside the door. Before long she was back to using drugs, and her drug of choice quickly became heroin. After a celebrated few years making music, that included a spot in now infamous Woodstock, she accidentally died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. Decades after her death, Janis continues to be considered an American legend, whose life was sadly cut short by the ravages of excess.