|Studio album by Big Brother and the Holding Company|
|Released||August 12, 1968|
|Recorded||March 2 – May 20, 1968
Live recordings: March 8 at the Fillmore East
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, acid rock, blues rock|
54:59 (CD reissue)
|Big Brother and the Holding Company chronology|
|Janis Joplin chronology|
Cheap Thrills is the second album from Big Brother and the Holding Company and their last with Janis Joplin as primary lead vocalist. In 2003, the album was ranked #338 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Big Brother obtained a considerable amount of attention after their 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival and had released their debut album soon after. Cheap Thrills was a great success, hitting #1 on the charts for eight nonconsecutive weeks in 1968. Columbia Records offered the band a new recording contract, but it took months to get through since they were still signed to Mainstream Records. The album features three cover songs ("Summertime", "Piece of My Heart" and "Ball and Chain"). The album also features Bill Graham, who introduces the band at the beginning of "Combination of the Two". "Ball and Chain" is the only song on the album recorded entirely live, and even though the cover credits assert that the live material was recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium, it was actually taken from a concert at the Winterland Ballroom in 1968. The album's overall raw sound effectively captures the band's energetic and lively concerts. The LP was released in both stereo and mono formats with the monophonic pressing now a rare collector's item. The album had been considered for quadraphonic format in the early 70's and eventually in 2002, was released as a Multichannel Sony SACD. The original quadraphonic mix remains unreleased.
Cover and title
The cover was drawn by underground cartoonist Robert Crumb after the band's original cover idea, a picture of the group naked in bed together, was dropped by the record company. Crumb had originally intended his art for the LP back cover, with a portrait of Janis Joplin to grace the front. But Joplin—an avid fan of underground comics, especially the work of Crumb—so loved the Cheap Thrills illustration that she demanded Columbia Records place it on the front cover. It is number nine on Rolling Stone's list of one hundred greatest album covers.
In at least one early edition, the words "HARRY KRISHNA! (D. GETZ)" are faintly visible in the word balloon of the turbaned man, apparently referring to a track that was dropped from the final sequence. The words "ART: R. CRUMB" replace them.
Initially, the album was to be called Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills, but the title was not received well by Columbia Records.
A variation of the title on the cover is used as the logo for the Cheap Thrills record label, owned by British DJ Hervé.
Success and legacy
The album was released in the summer of 1968, one year after their debut album, and reached #1 on the Billboard charts in its eighth week in October. It kept the #1 spot for eight (nonconsecutive) weeks while the single, "Piece of My Heart", also became a huge hit. By the end of the year it was the most successful album of 1968, having sold nearly a million copies. The success was short-lived however, as Joplin left the group for a solo career in December 1968. In 2003, the album was ranked #338 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. They previously ranked it #50 on their Top 100 Albums of the Past 20 Years list in 1987. It is often regarded as one of the key recordings of the late 1960s. It is also listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. On March 22, 2013, the album was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and thus it was preserved into the National Recording Registry for the 2012 register.
Outtakes originally to have appeared on the album have since been released on Janis Joplin compilations such as Farewell Song (In which Big Brother's original instruments were replaced with studio musicians from 1983, angering the band) and the Janis compilation box set featuring all original studio songs and live recordings. The 1999 re-release of Cheap Thrills features the outtakes "Flower in the Sun" and "Roadblock" as well as live performances of "Magic of Love" and "Catch Me Daddy" as bonus material.
|1.||"Combination of the Two"||Sam Andrew||5:47|
|2.||"I Need a Man to Love"||Andrew, Janis Joplin||4:54|
|3.||"Summertime"||George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward||4:01|
|4.||"Piece of My Heart"||Bert Berns, Jerry Ragovoy||4:15|
|2.||"Oh, Sweet Mary"||Peter Albin, Andrew, David Getz, James Gurley, Joplin||4:16|
|3.||"Ball and Chain"||Big Mama Thornton||9:02|
|Re-release bonus tracks|
|8.||"Roadblock" (Studio outtake)||5:31|
|9.||"Flower in the Sun" (Studio outtake)||3:04|
|10.||"Catch Me Daddy" (Live)||5:32|
|11.||"Magic of Love" (Live)||3:58|
- Janis Joplin – vocals, engineer
- Peter Albin – bass guitar, guitar
- Sam Andrew – bass guitar, guitar, arranger, vocals
- James Gurley – bass guitar, guitar, engineer
- David Getz – piano, drums
- John Simon – piano, producer
- Vic Anesini – mastering, mixing
- Nicholas Bennett – packaging manager
- Steven Berkowitz – A&R
- Fred Catero – engineer
- John Byrne Cooke – liner notes
- Robert Crumb – cover artwork
- David Diller – engineer
- Mark Feldman – project director
- David Gahr – photography
- Diana Reid Haig – digital editing, mixing
- Jerry Hochman – engineer
- Bob Irwin – producer, reissue producer
- Elliott Landy – photography, tray photo (gatefold photograph)
- Jim Marshall – photography
- Patti Matheny – A&R
- Elliot Mazer – producer, mixing, assistant producer
- Nathan Rosenberg – digital editing
- Roy Segal – engineer
- Smay Vision – art direction
- Thomas Weir – photography, back cover
- Jen Wyler – editing, mastering, assembly[disambiguation needed], authoring
- Robert Honablue – engineer
|1968||Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200)||1|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- "Big Brother & the Holding Company: Cheap Thrills > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Hardin, John (September 15, 1972). "Big Brother and the Holding Company: Cheap Thrills". Rolling Stone (Wenner Media). ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Hardin, John (14 September 1968). "Records". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone: 338 | Cheap Thrills – Big Brother and the Holding Company. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years". Rolling Stone Lists. rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (2006). Dimery, Robert, ed. 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-1371-3. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Janis Joplin interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
- "American album certifications – Janis Joplin – Cheap Thrills". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
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