Janis: Her Life and Music

The definitive biography about the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll is available now. Buy your copy here.

“Janis Joplin is, and will always be, the poster child of a true rockstar; her take-no-shit attitude, vulnerability, rebellious snarl and complete commitment to raw emotion, has been used as a blue print for me and many others. I have approached my own life’s work as a direct result of her portrayal of the villain, victim and hero.” – Linda Perry

“I’ve been waiting for the right person to write the definitive biography of Janis Joplin! All fans should be grateful it’s finally here. Janis lives and breathes freedom and soul, and Holly George-Warren captures that spirit perfectly.”
— Rosanne Cash

“Joplin fans rejoice! Holly George-Warren’s biography is a triumph of passionate scholarship, thus making me love Janis—with all her baffling and brilliant complexity—even more.”
— David Ritz, author of Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin

“By far and away the most comprehensive and best-researched Joplin biography. George-Warren constructs the “real” Joplin by building her life through letters, diaries, and countless interviews with associates. 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. Janisblossoms 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 

This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin illuminates the Queen of Rock & Roll as a true rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, uncompromising artistic revolutionary.  

Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who embraced the power of the blues, music one could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. But even before that, she stood out in her conservative oil town. She was a tomboy who was intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beat poets and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance.

Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned  artist doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in these pages, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of sexuality – and bisexuality – in a time when any deviation from the 1960’s vision of homogenous, heterosexual America was considered socially taboo. She was a sensitive soul who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco.

Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.


Listen to author Holly George-Warren on Rolling Stone’s Music Now podcast: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/janis-joplin-life-and-death-919772/

Listen to Holly George-Warren on the Lefsetz podcast:

“The best books of 2019” – People Magazine

“This gripping biography charts the brilliant and troubled blues singer, from life in small-town Texas to discovering Kerouac, San Francisco, and her own musical self.” – Vanity Fair

“Next month, the first woman of rock-blues will be toasted with the most thorough book ever written about her, penned by Holly George-Warren and titled simply ‘Janis.'”- Jim Farber, Newsday

“A must-read.” – AARP Magazine

“A new biography, “Janis,” by the music writer Holly George-Warren, performs a service by stripping away a lot of the noise around Joplin — cackling and bawdy, she was America’s first female rock star and Haight-Ashbury’s self-destructive pinup girl — and telling her story simply and well, with some of the tone and flavor of a good novel.” – The New York Times

“In this excellent biography, George-Warren (A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton) paints a complex portrait of singer Janis Joplin (1943–1970)…George-Warren beautifully tells a moving story of a woman whose life and music inspired a generation.  ” – Publisher’s Weekly. Read the review here: https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4767-9310-8

“A top-notch biography of one of the greatest performers to emerge from a brilliant era.”

“Holly George-Warren really reveals the woman behind the brassy, bawdy mama persona in this masterful work in which Joplin becomes a person – and not a Southern Comfort-swilling caricature.” – Houston Press


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