22 July 2012

Janis Ian sings "At Seventeen"

I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth…

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say “come dance with me”
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn’t all it seems at seventeen…

We all play the game, and when we dare
We cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
That call and say: “Come on, dance with me”
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, at seventeen.
Her most successful single was "At Seventeen," released in 1975, a bittersweet commentary on adolescent cruelty and teenage angst, as reflected upon from the maturity of adulthood. "At Seventeen" was a smash, receiving tremendous acclaim from critics and record buyers alike — it charted at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It even won the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female beating out the likes of Linda Ronstadt who was nominated for the classic Heart Like A Wheel album, Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy. Ian performed "At Seventeen" as a musical guest on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live on October 11, 1975... Another measure of her success is anecdotal - on Valentine's Day 1977, Ian received 461 Valentine cards, having indicated in the lyrics to "At Seventeen" that she never received any as a teenager." 
Reposted from 2008 because I found the lyrics at Camille Reads.


  1. She wrote and performed the song "Society's Child" at age 13. A very talented woman.

    Here she is, a 16 year old bundle of talent, performing on Smothers Bros.

    Did you know you can have lunch with her, or hire her for a private concert at your home? it's not cheap. But people have spent money on dumber things.

  2. Did you know that she did a parody version of "At Seventeen" with Howard Stern to make fun of Jerry Steinfield's wife.


    It is hilarious to listen to. She is nervous, but laughs her butt off.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...