Rip Torn played as Narrator
Release: Nov 30, 2000
Nine Hundred Nights might start with the premise of documenting the history of Big Brother & the Holding Company's birth, rise to fame, and brief moment in the sun, but it inadvertently provides evidence of how bright Janis Joplin's star was and still is, and how without her energy these talented guys may have remained an obscure San Franciscan cult band. The first 19-20 minutes have the focus on Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Peter Albin, and David Getz, and a few moments with Janis Joplin, but as it unfolds it's clear this is a deep DVD chock-full of rare photographs, insight, and valuable commentary not readily available elsewhere. Journalist Ellen Willis, guitarist Lenny Kaye, songwriter/journeyman Nick Gravenites -- the man who wrote songs for Joplin's post-Big Brother work while replacing her in the band -- and the individual members of the group make it clear why Janis was such a big, big star. All due respect to the four guys who provided backup to Pearl, and to the recurring mantra on this disc that James Gurley was the star prior to Janis taking control, the sparkle is evident mostly when the singer moves, walks, or gestures: all eyes go to her. When Janis sings, forget it: game over. That distinctive voice brings the Holding Company's experimental psychedelia to another level. Keep in mind that in the day Cream was a much, much bigger band than Big Brother & the Holding Company, with more chart action, and that it was guitarist Eric Clapton who eclipsed the other musical giants in the group, vocalist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. Had James Gurley been as phenomenal on the guitar as Janis was as singer and front person, it would have been the Van Halen scenario of changing lead singers but still maintaining an audience. Watch Movies Online for Free on 10StarMovies.