Artist picture of Big Brother & The Holding Company

Big Brother & The Holding Company

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Combination of The Two
I Need a Man to Love
Summertime
Piece of My Heart

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Biography

Amid the drugs, the hippies and the psychedelia, San Francisco became the centre of the counter-culture revolution of the mid-1960s with a host of new bands rising from the bohemian Haight-Ashbury district. Alongside Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother And The Holding Company were at the heart of the scene, stomping out bluesy, funky jams as the house band at the Avalon Ballroom nightclub. Recruiting unknown Texas soul singer Janis Joplin in 1966, the band were inspired by her charismatic personality and her unusually raw, gravelly howling voice and became major international stars with a legendary performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and the US Number 1 album Cheap Thrills (1968). A lung-bursting cover of A Piece Of My Heart, originally by Erma Franklin (Aretha Franklin's older sister), became their finest moment, reaching Number 12 in the US chart and which was soon recognised as a solid gold classic. Joplin quit soon after that success to pursue a solo career, although Big Brother battled manfully on without her for a while. However, the albums Be A Brother (1970) and How Hard It Is (1971) received little attention and by 1972 they had fallen apart. They reformed in 1987 and continue to belt out the old classics, using an array of different female singers to take the place of the legendary Joplin, who died of a heroin overdose in 1970.