Janis Lyn Joplin (; January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American rock singer and songwriter. She was one of the biggest female rock stars of her era. After releasing three albums, she died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. A fourth album, Pearl, was released in January 1971, just over three months after her death. It reached number one on the Billboard charts.
In 1967, Joplin rose to fame during an appearance at Monterey Pop Festival, where she was the lead singer of the then little-known San Francisco psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. After releasing two albums with the band, she left Big Brother to continue as a solo artist with her own backing groups, first the Kozmic Blues Band and then the Full Tilt Boogie Band. She appeared at the Woodstock festival and the Festival Express train tour. Five singles by Joplin went into the Billboard Hot 100, including a cover of the song "Me and Bobby McGee", which reached number 1 in March 1971. Her most popular songs include her cover versions of "Piece of My Heart", "Cry Baby", "Down on Me", "Ball 'n' Chain", and "Summertime"; and her original song "Mercedes Benz", her final recording.
Joplin, highly respected for her charismatic performing ability, was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Audiences and critics alike referred to her stage presence as "electric". Rolling Stone ranked Joplin number 46 on its 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She remains one of the top-selling musicians in the United States, with Recording Industry Association of America certifications of 15.5 million albums sold in the USA.
On October 4, 1970, producer Paul Rothchild became concerned when Joplin failed to show up at Sunset Sound Recorders for a recording session. Full Tilt Boogie's road manager John Cooke drove to the Landmark Motor Hotel in Hollywood where Joplin was staying. He saw Joplin's psychedelically painted Porsche 356 C Cabriolet in the parking lot. Upon entering Joplin's room (#105), he found her dead on the floor beside her bed. The official cause of death was a heroin overdose, possibly compounded by alcohol. Cooke believes Joplin had been given heroin that was much more potent than normal, as several of her dealer's other customers also overdosed that week.
Peggy Caserta and Seth Morgan had both failed to meet Joplin the Friday immediately prior to her death, October 2, and Joplin had been expecting both of them to keep her company that night. According to Caserta, Joplin was saddened that neither of her friends visited her at the Landmark as they had promised. During the 24 hours Joplin lived after this disappointment, Caserta did not phone her to explain why she had failed to show up. Caserta admitted to waiting until late Saturday night to dial the Landmark switchboard, only to learn that Joplin had instructed the desk clerk not to accept any incoming phone calls for her after midnight. Morgan did speak to Joplin via telephone within 24 hours of her death, but it is not known whether he admitted to her that he had broken his promise.
Joplin's last will and testament funded $2,500 to throw a wake party in the event of her demise. The party took place on October 26, 1970 at the Lion's Share in San Anselmo, California and was attended by Joplin's sister Laura, Morgan, and other close friends, including Cooke, Bob Gordon, Jack Penty and tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle.