Died Today in History ›
Getty / Michael Ochs Archives / Paul Ryan
Published: 11 months ago
Janis Joplin's big voice catapulted her to stardom in the 1960s with electrifying songs including "Piece of My Heart," "Me and Bobby McGee," and "Ball 'n' Chain." She achieved fame as the lead singer for Big Brother and the Holding Company, also performing as a solo artist and with the Kozmic Blues Band and the Full Tilt Boogie Band. She made a splash at the famous Monterey Pop Festival, and by the time Woodstock rolled around, she was a hippie icon, added to the bill as a headliner before she even knew of the festival's existence. Joplin could captivate an audience with her charisma, delivering unforgettable live shows. She was just 27 when she died after a short but influential career. We remember Joplin's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2014: Paul Revere, U.S. singer with Paul Revere and the Raiders, whose hits include "Indian Reservation" and "Hungry," dies at 76.
The group became popular in 1963 with its rendition of Richard Berry's "Louie, Louie" before releasing its own hits, such as "Kicks," "Hungry," and "Good Thing." The band's biggest smash came in 1971 with "Indian Reservation." Paul Revere and the Raiders served as the house band for the Dick Clark TV show "Where the Action Is" and made an appearance as themselves in the "Batman" TV series starring Adam West. Read more
2009: Mercedes Sosa, Argentine folk singer who was internationally acclaimed, dies at 74.
2004: Gordon Cooper, U.S. astronaut who was a member of the pioneering Mercury astronaut team, dies of natural causes at 77.
1989: Graham Chapman, English actor and writer who was an original member of the comedy group Monty Python, dies of cancer at 48.
1982: Glenn H. Gould, Canadian pianist who was considered one of the greatest classical pianists of the 20th century, dies of a stroke at 50.
1981: Freddie Lindstrom, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman who hit above .300 during his career, dies at 75.
1974: Anne Sexton, U.S. poet who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1967, dies by suicide at 45.
1970: Janis Joplin, U.S. rock singer-songwriter known for her incredible voice whose hits included "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Piece of My Heart," dies of a drug overdose at 27.
A biopic called Pearl was in the works in the '70s, but when the Joplin family declined to grant the filmmakers rights, the project took another direction and became "The Rose" (1979). Sony secured the rights to several of Joplin's most popular songs in the 1990s, and since then actresses and singers including Renee Zellweger, Melissa Etheridge, Lily Taylor, the late Brittany Murphy, Zooey Deschanel, and Pink have been attached to star. As recently as June 2010, Amy Adams entered the fray. Read more
1947: Max Planck, German theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, dies at 89.
1890: Catherine Booth, English missionary known as the Mother of the Salvation Army, dies at 61.
1669: Rembrandt, Dutch painter considered one of the greatest in history, dies at 63.