Have you ever seen footage of Janis Joplin on stage? She is scintillating. I don't particularly like her music, but I could watch her fuse psych rock and blues with all the wild abandon of someone possessed by the devil for at least two hours straight. And a woman possessed she was; Joplin famously grappled with addiction, joining the the "27 Club" in 1970 when she died of a heroin overdose.
Immortalising her musical legacy, and tragic decline, is Janis: Little Girl Blue, a new documentary that looks back at the rock singer's uninhibited life. Narrated by Cat Power, the film tells Joplin's story, from her upbringing in conservative Texas, with strict parents and a house with no TV, to her life in San Francisco, where she moved in the 1960s and discovered her penchant for blues.
After playing in the acid rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company, Joplin eventually went solo and quickly shot to Woodstock-headliner levels of fame. Dubbed "The Queen of Psychedelic Soul", Joplin's complicated personality lead her into a spiral of drugs and booze. Like Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, she is part of the canon of troubled figures in music who lost their lives too young.
So much of music's history focusses on men. So much of the pressure of being a female singer is existing in a male dominated industry. To celebrate the release of Janis: Little Girl Blue, we've listed our favourite documentary films about female musicians, both celebratory and sad.