Big Brother & The Holding CompanyCheap Thrills

Label:Columbia – KCS 9700
Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Terre Haute Pressing, Gatefold
Style:Blues Rock, Psychedelic Rock


A1Combination Of The Two
Lead GuitarJames*
Written-ByS. Andrew*
A2I Need A Man To Love
Lead GuitarSam*
Written-ByJ. Joplin*, S. Andrew*
Arranged By [Arr.]S. Andrew*
Written-ByD. Heyward*, G. Gershwin*
A4Piece Of My Heart
Lead GuitarSam*
Written-ByBert Berns, Jerry Ragovoy
B1Turtle Blues
PianoJohn Simon
Written-ByJ. Joplin*
B2Oh, Sweet Mary
Lead GuitarPeter A.*
VocalsSam A.*
Written-ByJ. Joplin*, P. Albin*
B3Ball And Chain
Lead GuitarJames*
Written-By"Big Mama" Thornton*

Companies, etc.



Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Terre Haute, pressing variant of the original U.S. release, as indicated by "T" etched in runouts.

Released in a gatefold cover on red "360 Sound" Stereo labels with white lettering.

Although Janis Joplin has a release-wide vocal credit (and indeed sings on every song), on the individual song credits, only "Sam" is credited for vocals on tracks A1 and B2.

Track A3 is incorrectly credited to Gershwin Bros. on the front cover, though the label correctly credits George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward.

Track B3 is credited to W. M. Thornton on the label, and "Big Mama" Thornton on the front cover.

Live material recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium (tracks A1, A2 and B3).
Turtle Blues "Vibes" courtesy of Barney's Beanery
Approved By Hell's Angels Frisco

Tracks A1 to A3, B1, B2: ASCAP; tracks A4 and B3: BMI.

Stereo "360 Sound". Manufactured by Columbia Records/CBS, Inc. Litho in USA. Printed in USA. Rear cover photo © Thomas Weir 1967.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Rights Society: ASCAP
  • Rights Society: BMI
  • Matrix / Runout (Label side A): XSM 137375
  • Matrix / Runout (Label side B): XSM 137376
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, variant 1): o XSM 137375 -1C
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, variant 1): o XSM 137376 -1C
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, variant 2): XSM137375 -1D
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, variant 2): XSM137376 -1A
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, variant 4): o XSM137375-1E
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, variant 4): o XSM137376-1E
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, variant 5): o XSM 137375 -1D T F2
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, variant 5): T o XSM 137376 -1A A2
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, variant 7): o XSM 137375 -1C
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, variant 7): o XSM137376-1E
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, variant 8): o XSM 137375-1D T C1
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, variant 8): o XSM 137376-1A 1 Λ/C 3 T
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, variant 9): XSM137375-1D o T D6
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, variant 9): T o XSM137376 -1A 1 A5
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, variant 10): XSM137375-1D (face symbol) T ::
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, variant 10): T o XSM137376 -1A 1 ::

Other Versions (5 of 210)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Recently Edited
Cheap Thrills (LP, Album, Stereo)CBS, CBSS 7-63392, S 63.392France1968
Recently Edited
Cheap Thrills (Reel-To-Reel, Album, 7 ½ ips, 4-Track Stereo)ColumbiaCQ 1040US1968
Cheap Thrills (LP, Album, Stereo)CBS, CBS63392, S 63392UK1968
Recently Edited
Cheap Thrills (LP, Album, Stereo)CBSSBP 233584Australia1968
Cheap Thrills (LP, Album, Gatefold)ColumbiaKCS 9700Canada1968



  • adored_vinyl's avatar
    One of the finest live performances these ears have ever heard.
    • tvfats's avatar
      Interesting "LIVE" groove from a recording made at the Fillmore...when Janis became a ROCK superstar..."Cheap Thrills" was on nearly every turntable back in 1968...Ask your grandparents and they'll tell ya all about hippies, the Haight scene in San Francisco, AND Big Brother and the Holding Company...Not the best sonic presentation here but the hard driving soul of the group is front and center and Janis always tears it up on every track...It was a very good time...It was a VERY good rock and roll band...
      • stereonut's avatar
        RE: LP - Not the best recording. Not the best musicianship (but a lot better than the critics said). Just the BEST singing and most addictive music. I might have worn it out. Almost every song is a classic. "Piece of My Heart" and "Summertime" are two all-time treasures of Rock and Blues. If you don't own this album; you MUST get it.
        • streetmouse's avatar
          Which came first: Zap Comics or the Big Brother and The Holding Company album “Cheap Thrills?” The answer: It probably doesn’t matter, because Crumb drew from the essence of the emerging hippy underground, and Big Brother and The Holding Company “were” the essence of the emerging hippy underground.

          If you were hip, or near hip, “Cheap Thrills” was one album that you had to have. I’ve never been able to distill which was more important to the release, the music or the cover ... both were exquisite, fresh and spirited. There was nothing, and I repeat “nothing” attractive about the cover of Cheap Thrills ... it was a raw, gritty, and dirty comic ... it was exactly what the counter culture was, though those of us who lived through those times would certainly like to imagine that all of the women were as beautiful as Grace Slick or Nico, and all of the men were as cool, hip and clean as Peter Fonda ... truth is, it was a total mess from sun up to sun down. The cover bespoke of no money, drugs, sex, music, frustration, cool, blown cool, the man, and deals gone up, down and sideways. So I ask you, “Who better then R. Crumb to feature the music of one of the grittiest bands of the day?”

          I’ve seen Big Brother and The Holding Company about ten times, both with and without Janis. Janis was not an attractive woman ... but she had a quality that was infectious, a spontaneous laughter, a rye smile, and a penchant for living a full life ... not to mention a voice that at the time was second to non, being full of rich earthy tones, and with a heavy blues influence. A typical show would be divided into thirds ... Janis would sing one third of the songs, the guys would sing another third, with Janis backing them up, and the rest would be instrumentals, like “In The Hall of The Mountain King [always a twenty to thirty minute “freak out," that was a major crowd pleaser]. And it was Albert Grossman [yes of Bob Dylan fame], who got the ball rolling, saying that the guys were not good enough to support her, and it quickly became the conventional wisdom of the day, that the band was certainly not up to meeting the needs of Janis ... but Albert was just wooing her, looking to line his pockets again, with the talents of another star. And if you speak with James Gurley “The Fastest Guitar In The West,” or the other members of the band [who still perform today] ... there is a founded sense of betrayal felt towards Janis, because she certainly did not live up to the ideals and values of the times.

          Truth be told, the band was incredibly tight, well structured, and rehearsed. They had spent much time performing live at the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom, honing their skills, and working the shape and balance of the shows. And if you listen, you will hear some of the most remarkable, blues, rock, and R&B from the day. The guitar playing was centered and never wondered without a purpose ... the rhythm, lead and bass played off of each other with a well defined language, weaving in and out, without any pretentious psychedelic overtures. This was a skilled band devoid of weakness, and keenly aware of each other's strengths. They had the ability to play to each other with the same grace and spirit they used when playing to the voice of Janis. As for the vocals of Janis, they suited the band, the music and the times ... her vocals may have been off key at times, but like Dylan, her songs came from the heart ... she could have been any of us, just an average person with a passion for singing songs that were pure Americana.

          This is a blessed album, a time capsule, a window and more into the psyche of the 1960’s ... “Summertime” is a magical number, haunting and dark, dripping sexuality with each verse, while “Piece Of My Heart” both earns and commands your attention, and “Ball And Chain” ... well there’s nothing I need to say about that.

          This is one of those albums that defined your musical tastes, friends would merely pick it up and nod ... the music was so eternal that it never even needed to be played ... though every now and then, I want to make sure that my memories have not strayed.

          *** The Fun Facts: As to the band's name, according to Sam Andrew of the band, "There were two names ... Big Brother courtesy of the writer George Orwell, and the Holding Company courtesy of a silly hippy pun, where "Holding" meant "possessing illicit drugs." We decided to put the names together, although some of the more forward thinking among us worried about whether such a lengthy name would fit on a record label or a marquee.

          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. Crumb later allowed prints of the cover, some of which he signed before sale.

          In an interview for the AIGA, Columbia Records Art Director John Berg told design professor Paul Nini, "[Janis] Joplin commissioned it, and she delivered Cheap Thrills to me personally in the office. There were no changes with R. Crumb. He refused to be paid, saying, 'I don't want Columbia's filthy lucre.'"

          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.

          Review by Jenell Kesler
          • MEllODrOnE's avatar
            Anyone think the stereo version sounds better than the mono version?
            • JenniferOshea's avatar
              This is like the only real good song that has come out in awhile. It is really good with classic black and white tv theme which Is awesome.
              • dlgale1974's avatar
                Janis Joplin is great on here and whilst Big Brother and the Holding Company weren't the most proficient studio musicians the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You end up with a fun, loose, album that sounds like it's all recorded live when in fact the only entirely live recording is Ball and Chain which to me is the highlight of the album.



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