Scars of Sweet Paradise The Life and Times of Janis Joplin

Alice Echols

Picador

0805053948

9780805053944

Trade Paperback

456 Pages

$20.00

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Janis Joplin was the "skyrocket chick" of the sixties, the woman who broke into the boys' club of rock and out of the stifling good-girl femininity of postwar America. With her incredible wall-of-sound vocals, Joplin was the voice of a generation, and when she OD'd on heroin in October 1970, a generation's dreams crashed and burned with her. Alice Echols pushes past the legendary Joplin—the red-hot mama of her own invention—as well as the familiar portrait of the screwed-up star victimized by the era she symbolized, to examine the roots of Joplin's musicianship and explore a generation's experiment with high-risk living. A biography of one of America's most brilliant and tormented stars, Scars of Sweet Paradise is also a cultural history of an era that changed the world for us all.

REVIEWS

Praise for Scars of Sweet Paradise

"Engaging . . . One of the best features of Scars of Sweet Paradise is how seriously Echols treats music as reflecting gender, racial, and sexual politics, and as Janis's means of getting around gender roles and acquiring respect from her peers through the performative subversion of racial boundaries."—Judith A. Peraino, Journal of the American Musicological Society

"A richly detailed portrait. Echols stares unflinchingly at the fault lines of the '60s counter-culture."—Susie Linfield, Los Angeles Times

"A convincing psychological and sociological portrait [and] a smart, sober reappraisal of Janis Joplins whirlwind life and the hippie moment. Having interviewed scores of Joplins intimates, rock critic and historian Echols persuades us that the received image of Joplin as a wild, doomed, drunken howler memorialized in several previous biographies and in the movie The Rose is wrong only in that it emphasizes Joplins iconic extremity of style at the expense of personal and cultural context."—Kirkus Reviews

"A serious biography—it does the important stuff well."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"In Echols's creation Joplin emerges as a true original, compelling, confounding, and rife with contradictions."—Lisa Shea, Elle

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Alice Echols is a historian and cultural critic. She has taught at UCLA, USC, and Occidental College and has written for The Nation, The Village Voice, and L.A. Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Alice Echols

  • Alice Echols is a historian and cultural critic. She has taught at UCLA, USC, and Occidental College and has written for The Nation, The Village Voice, and L.A. Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles.
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