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Unreleased 3: Society's Child

Bayonne Blues

Janis Ian

I must have been around 14 when I started this, just after my family moved to New York City...everything in it actually happened to me one weekend shortly after, and I remained in a state of culture shock for a good six months! By the time I finished the song I was in my late teens, a seasoned New Yorker, & I truly felt I'd been "raised in New York City", even though I'd grown up in New Jersey. We never lived in Bayonne, but my dad worked there for a while, and "Farmingdale" and "East Orange" just didn't scan.

I was raised in New York City, where the money grows on trees
and the flowers all look gritty and the people look diseased
Come up from New Jersey where I sung the Bayonne Blues
I watched the roller derby on the seven-thirty news

I thought I'd be a folksinger
I went down to Macdougal Street
and Bleeker where the stars got stoned
But the union hall was closed
and the stars out on the road
making money singing anti-money songs

I went back up to Broadway. I took the IRT
An old man in a raincoat parked his body next to me
"Do you want to make some money fast?"
and then he grabbed me by the ass
I got derailed on Forty-Second street

I asked somebody for the time
She asked me to her room
She said "I've got a water bed"
I said "I've got the flu
"You look just like a friend of mine
"I never liked too well
"She sold picture postcards
"of the crack in the Liberty Bell"

I went into the Taco Bell to get myself some lunch
They rushed me to the hospital to have my stomach pumped
Run over on the corner by a wheelchair with no horn
I fell into a manhole and was baptized and re-born

I moved out to Long Island
Bought a color TV
I watch the doctor shows
I'm a soap opera queen
I think I got pneumonia
I'm sure I've got TB
It may not be a hell of a life
but it's life enough for me

© 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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