Big Brother & The Holding Company are a veteran psychedelic/hard/blues rock band fronted from 1966-1968 by Janis Joplin that became famous during the late 1960s. They are best known for the raw and fiery "Piece Of My Heart" (1968).
Formed in 1965 in San Francisco, California by Peter Albin (bass) and guitarist/singer Sam Andrew (December 18, 1941 - February 12, 2015), the classic hitmaking lineup also consisted of Dave Getz (drums, piano), guitarist/bassist James Gurley (December 22, 1939 - December 20, 2009), and the legendary Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 - October 4, 1970) who joined as lead singer in 1966. As one of San Francisco's earliest psychedelic music acts, they amassed a loyal following within the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. In 1966, they signed with Mainstream Records and began recording their debut album later that year. Their fame took off in June 1967 when they became a major sensation at the historic Monterey International Pop Music Festival where they performed a set that included "Ball And Chain" and "Combination Of The Two." Big Brother & The Holding Company then released their eponymous debut album and signed with Columbia soon after. Their next breakthrough came with their second album, the critically-acclaimed "Cheap Thrills" (1968), which topped the Billboard 200 the year of its release and is widely considered to be among the psychedelic era's all-time greatest recordings.
Big Brother & The Holding Company debuted in 1967 on the Pop/Rock charts with "Blindman," a minor hit followed later that year by "Bye, Bye Baby" (1967). They had their greatest hit the following year with their Top 20 remake of the Jerry Ragovoy/Bert Berns-penned "Piece Of My Heart" (1968), which was previously a hit for Aretha Franklin's sister Erma. This smash was followed by "Down On Me" (1968), a traditional freedom song from the 1920s rearranged by Janis Joplin with new lyrics. A live, more energetic remake is included on her posthumously-released live album, "In Concert" (1972), and that version also became a hit that year. Big Brother & The Holding Company's final charting song came in late 1968 with the Peter Albin-penned "Coo Coo." Other songs for which they are well known include their hard-driving, bluesy rendition of George Gershwin's "Summertime" (from "Cheap Thrills").
After Janis Joplin left in 1968 to pursue a solo career, Big Brother & The Holding Company continued performing and recording through 1972 before disbanding. All four remaining members of the classic lineup reunited in 1987, and the band has continued to the present day, with a number of personnel changes over the years. The current lineup is a quintet that includes Peter Albin and Dave Getz.
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- The New York Times remembers Janis Joplin, James Gurley, and Sam Andrew of Big Brother & The Holding Company.
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Big Brother And The Holding Company
- Piece Of My Heart 1968
(This song was previously a hit for Erma Franklin (1967) and later also became a hit for Sammy Hagar (1982).)
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