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Janis Joplin: Queen of the Damned Essay

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“I always wanted to be an artist, whatever that was, like other chicks want to be stewardesses. I read. I painted. I thought” (brainyquote.com). Janis Joplin was a musical icon as well as an undeclared feminist leader. Her innovative outlook and lifestyle broke the typical mold of a 1960’s female performer. Joplin made strides for women all across the musical industry and truly embodied the superficial idea of a rock star. Although she died over forty years ago, her legacy will live on for many decades to come. Her memorable persona is why Janis Joplin should be named the Queen of Soul.
Janis Joplin didn’t start off as the queen of anything. She grew up in the coastal town of Port Arthur, Texas. She never really felt connected with members of her peer group and was often ridiculed by children around her. As she grew older she was definitely not part of the attractive popular girl clique, instead she became an outcast. It even got to the point where she was voted “Ugliest Man on Campus” as a cruel joke by a prankster in Austin, Texas where she was currently residing. After that incident and in her early twenties, she moved to California to join in on the new musical movement taking place. Looking back on her time in Port Arthur, Joplin explained, “They don’t treat beatniks too good in Texas. Port Arthur people thought I was a beatnik and they didn’t like them, though they’d never seen one and neither had I” (Rodnitzky 3). She was thrown into the music scene as the lead singer of Big Brother and eventually left the band to embark on a solo career in 1968. The chemistry came as a revelation even to Joplin: “All of a sudden, someone threw me in front of this rock and roll band,” she said. “And I decided then and there th...


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...s Cited

Braziel, Jana Evans. "“Bye, Bye Baby”: Race, Bisexuality, and the Blues in the Music of Bessie Smith and Janis Joplin." Popular Music and Society 27.1 (2004): 3-26. Print.
"Janis Joplin - Life Quotes." RSS News. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.
"Janis Joplin Biography." The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.
McCarthy, Kate. "Not Pretty Girls?: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Gender Construction in Women's Rock Music." The Journal of Popular Culture 39.1 (2006): n. pag. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
"Queen." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.
Rodnitzky, Jerry. "Janis Joplin: The Hippie Blues Singer as Feminist Heroine." Journal of Texas Music History 2.1 (2002): n. pag. Print.
Smith, Wendy. "Rock of Ages." The American Scholar, the Magazine of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. N.p., Autumn 2010. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.





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