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  • Janis Ian & Shadow Morton backstage at The Tonight Show - photo by Gilbert for Life Magazine
  • Janis Ian & producer Shadow Morton recording - photo by Gilbert for Life Magazine
  • Janis Ian & Joni Mitchell backstage - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian & Odetta - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian & Steve Goodman 01 - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian & Steve Goodman 02 - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian  & Taj Mahal - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian with Bruce Springsteen, radio personality Ed Sciaky, & Billy Joel backstage at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian, Mary Black, & Joan Baez backstage at Joan's show - photo by Joe Bangay
  • Janis Ian with the Abfab girls, backstage at the Royal Albert
Strictly SoloBetween The LinesLive On The Test 1976The Bottom Line: Encore CollectionWorking Without A Net: LiveBest Of Janis Ian: The Autobiography Collection

At Seventeen

Janis Ian

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

A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
whose name I never could pronounce
said - Pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve
The rich relationed hometown queen
marries into what she needs
with a guarantee of company
and haven for the elderly

Remember those who win the game
lose the love they sought to gain
in debentures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
in dull surprise when payment due
exceeds accounts received at seventeen

To those of us who knew the pain
of valentines that never came
and those whose names were never called
when choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
when dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me

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 dance with me
and murmur vague obscenities
at ugly girls like me, at seventeen

© Mine Music Ltd./EMI Music Publishing Japan Ltd.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on December 17, 2018

  • Thursday, January 31st

    Island Library, Holmes Beach, FL

    Island Library

    Holmes Beach, FL

    Phone: 941-778-6341

    Visit the venue's website

    Island Library
    5701 Marina Drive
    Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Janis will be speaking about her career as a performing songwriter and author of the Grammy-winning audiobook "Society's Child: My Autobiography", along with "The Tiny Mouse", a children's book. The talk will be illustrated with a few songs and a Q&A. Merchandise will be offered for sale (cash/check preferred) to benefit The Pearl Foundation and the Island Library equally, and Janis is happy to sign items after the talk is over. For information please call 941-778-6341. * Please note, this is a co-venture with the Waterline Marriott next door to the library. The actual talk will take place at the Waterline, piped into the library and then offered on line. Expect laughter and tears on gorgeous Anna Maria Island! 

  • Wednesday, March 6th

    Tiedtke Concert Hall, Winter Park, FL

    Tiedtke Concert Hall

    Winter Park, FL

    Phone: 407-646-2233

    Visit the venue's website

    Master Class - Free Event.

  • Thursday, March 7th

    Tiedtke Concert Hall, Winter Park, FL

    Tiedtke Concert Hall

    Winter Park, FL

    Phone: 407-646-2233

    Visit the venue's website

    Free show.

  • Thursday, August 8th

    Egyptian Theatre, Park City, UT

    Egyptian Theatre

    Park City, UT

    Phone: 435-649-9371

    Visit the venue's website

    Master Class with Livingston Taylor.

    10AM to 2PM

  • Friday, August 9th

    Egyptian Theatre, Park City, UT

    Egyptian Theatre

    Park City, UT

    Phone: 435.649.9371

    Visit the venue's website

    With Livingston Taylor.

    Tickets on sale May 1, 2019.

  • Saturday, August 10th

    Egyptian Theatre, Park City, UT

    Egyptian Theatre

    Park City, UT

    Phone: 435-649-9371

    Visit the venue's website

    With Livingston Taylor.

    Tickets on sale May 1, 2019.

  • Sunday, August 11th

    Egyptian Theatre, Park City, UT

    Egyptian Theatre

    Park City, UT

    Phone: 435-649-9371

    Visit the venue's website

    With Livingston Taylor.

    Tickets on sale May 1, 2019.

  • Wednesday, August 14th

    Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT

    Ridgefield Playhouse

    Ridgefield, CT

    Phone: 203-438-5795

    Visit the venue's website

    With Livingston Taylor.

[full tour dates list]

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