Pearl: The Obsessions and Passions of Janis Joplin

By Ellis Amburn


To those who knew and loved her intimately, she was Pearl. To an enthralled public, she was Janis Joplin, the greatest female singer in the history of rock and roll.

Her childhood in a backwater Texas town, where her classmates punished her mercilessly for her individuality, fuelled the compulsion to shock which became her hallmark. Drugs, alcohol and sex were her manna, long before stardom offered her every desire – and to excess.

Interviews with scores of intimate friends and musical contemporaries vividly recall her binges, her egotism, her insecurities, and her affairs with Jimi Hendrix, Kris Kristofferson and Jim Morrison – plus her many lesbian lovers.

This is the definitive account of the forces that drove Janis Joplin through her short, impulsive life to her inevitably tragic death at the age of twenty-seven from an accidental overdose. She had more of everything – problems and passion, fame and disgrace, drugs and booze – and attained a super-stardom that, however brief, places her squarely in the first rank of rock immortals, beside Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen. After two decades, she retains this status – a blazing example of one woman’s enduring triumph.

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