The 50 Greatest Concerts of the Last 50 Years

From Led Zeppelin's U.S. debut to Jay Z and Kanye West's 'Watch the Throne' spectacle, and beyond

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Big Brother and the Holding Company American Tour
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Big Brother and the Holding Company American Tour

Like so much of Janis Joplin's career, the tour to support Cheap Thrills, her 1968 album with Big Brother and the Holding ­Company, was a triumph wrought from chaos. On the eve of the tour, the ­singer announced she was leaving the band, leading to screaming fights with some of the musicians. Yet that very tension – combined with grueling album sessions that tightened what, as drummer Dave Getz admits, "wasn't a tight band" – made for a riveting farewell. The combination of her wild-child rasp and Big Brother's wailing blues rock proved transformative. "By the end of '68," says Getz, "I don't think there was a singer in rock & roll who could touch her." David Browne

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