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Big Brother And The Holding Company: Overview


Big Brother And The Holding Company: These San Francisco musicians got their name in 1965, before they started backing Janis Joplin. Manager Chet Helms took "Big Brother" from George Orwell's 1949 novel of the "near future" Nineteen Eighty-Four. Helms, as promoter, financier and éminence grise saw it as an amusing comment on his role.



The band added The Holding Company to rival The Great Society's name. Joplin said it was an apposite comment on faceless capitalist institutions, which were becoming Orwellian monoliths. Cf Public Image.



Gurley added in an interview: "It had a double meaning because of common slang at the time. 'Holding' meant 'possessing' [drugs] - it just was safer to say. It was a long name but it worked well."



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