Legendary Rock Star Janis Joplin as a UT Student: A Study in Change

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Considered by many to be the greatest female rock and blues singer of the 1960s, Janis Joplin was known for making a song her own. Her signature raspy and amped-up delivery of a tune could carry her fans away with its sheer power and still manages to do so for those new to her vocals. The pictures you see here were taken in Austin in 1962 by Marjorie Alette. Janis was studying at college at the time.

Janis Joplin as a UT Student: A Study in Change

Photo: Facebook/Guitar Yard

Joplin didn’t have an easy life in high school and was regularly taunted and bullied, according to an interview she gave the press after becoming famous. Graduating in 1960, she went on to attend Lamar State College of Technology in Beaumont, Texas, during that summer, then furthered her education at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). There, the Daily Texan (the campus newspaper), ran a profile of Joplin in the July 27, 1962 issue, which was headlined “She Dares to Be Different.” It started: “She goes barefooted when she feels like it, wears Levis to class because they’re more comfortable, and carries her autoharp with her everywhere she goes so that in case she gets the urge to break into song, it will be handy. Her name is Janis Joplin.”

Janis Joplin as a UT Student: A Study in Change

Photo: Facebook/Forever young

While attending UT, Joplin regularly performed with the Waller Creek Boys (a folk trio) and often hung out with those who worked at “The Texas Ranger,” a campus publication known for its humor. She had a bit of a rebellious manner and fashioned herself, in part, after her heroines – female blues singers and Beat poets. Recorded in December of 1962 at the home of a UT alum, Joplin’s first song was titled “What Good Can Drinkin’ Do.” Her memory continues to live on with her fans, and her contributions to pop culture remain behind, still making ripples in the deep pools of soulful music we’ve come to know and love.