Published Feb 14, 2015Sam Andrew, the guitarist who helped launch Janis Joplin's career back in the '60s, passed away yesterday (February 12). He was 73.
This comes ten weeks after Andrew suffered a heart attack and underwent open-heart surgery. He reportedly died in his wife Elise's arms.
Andrew co-founded the San Francisco psychedelic blues band Big Brother and the Holding Company back in 1965. The group were initially instrumental, but they recruited Joplin as their singer in 1966 and rose to popularity. They released two albums with Joplin — 1967's self-titled LP and 1968's Cheap Thrills — both of which included songs written by Andrew. (Joplin and Andrew are photographed above.)
When Joplin left the band in 1968, Andrew went with her and helped to form the Kozmic Blues Band. He played on her album I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!
He later rejoined Big Brother and the Holding Company. The outfit were broken up through much of the '70s and '80s, but they reformed in 1987 and have remained together since. At various points in his career, Andrew made film scores and led a solo band. He was involved in the musical Love, Janis, which made its debut in 2001.
Andrew is survived by his wife Elise and his daughter Mari. An announcement about the guitarist's passing from Big Brother and the Holding Company's Facebook page is below:
Dear Friends, Yesterday, 10 weeks after his heart attack and the open-heart surgery that followed it, Sam lost his gallant fight to hold onto the life he lived so well. He died peacefully in Elise's arms at 5:15PM. There will be much more to say about him in the days to come and there will come a time when we will gather together to remember him. Now is a time for Elise to regather her strength after the long vigil she has kept and the vital role she played in overseeing Sam's care. For now we can all remember him in our own ways until we can remember him together. He lived his life in music and art and a loving marriage. It doesn't get much better than that.