Musical Mondays – Janis Ian (Part 1)

On the heels of this year’s Grammys, I am SO thrilled to be featuring the multiple Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and author Janis Ian in the first of two posts about her. I don’t gush about many people, but as an audiophile and lover of lyrics, I am an ABSOLUTE fan! Her hit song, “At Seventeen” defined my years as a teenager—awkward, lonely, and introspective.

I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with Janis over the past couple of weeks. She has graciously agreed to support Indies Unite for Joshua, the IndieGoGo campaign for author Maxwell Cynn’s son who is fighting leukemia. Janis’ philanthropy is well documented with her charity, The Pearl Foundation, named after her incredible mother. Given her iconic status, it is an unbelievable honor to have Janis lend her name to our fundraiser. I’d like to give a huge shout-out to poet and editor, R. Jeffreys for making the introduction.

Released in 1975, “At Seventeen” is a bittersweet commentary on teenage angst. I still have the 45 and know the lyrics by heart because I played the record over and over and actually wrote down all the words.

“At Seventeen” was nominated for five Grammys—the most any female artist had ever been nominated for at the time. It won the 1976 Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, beating out Linda Ronstadt, Judy Collins, Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy. The song’s parent album, Between the Lines, also hit #1 and went platinum.

“At Seventeen” is a brilliantly composed song which is deeply personal, but the lyrics are as relevant today as they were when the song was first released. Have a listen …

Here is Janis performing “Society’s Child” when she was just sixteen years old on the Smothers Brothers Show.

“Society’s Child” rocked the nation at a time when the Supreme Court had yet to repeal the laws against interracial marriage, and when civil rights unrest was cresting. It was banned across the country by radio stations as “subversive”, a position that was later reversed when the brilliant composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein became Janis’ most vocal supporter. The song went to #1, and Janis was suddenly hanging out with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, appearing on television shows, and getting hate mail. (Portions excerpted from Janis Ian’s website)

Both “At Seventeen” and “Society’s Child” were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.

Learn More About Janis Ian

I’ll return with Janis next Monday to list the items she is generously donating for Indies Unite for Joshua. In the meantime, go to her website and see all the wonderful work she has done and continues to do—including a tour starting in April, recording an audio version of her autobiography Society’s Child, and her work for The Pearl Foundation.

You can also find Janis on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Thank you Janis for your amazing kindness and lending your support for Indies Unite for Joshua.   




Filed under Indies Unite for Joshua, Musical Mondays

31 responses to “Musical Mondays – Janis Ian (Part 1)

  1. Lance

    At seventeen is such a good song. I’m a dude and I appreciate it. Joni Mitchell once said, it;s the one song by a contemporary she wished she’d written.

    good one


  2. I LOVE her! Thanks for reminding me how much I adore her music, Eden! 🙂


  3. Eden, thanks for the news that Janis Ian will be helping to support “Indies Unite for Joshua.” That is awesome. I have enjoyed her music over the years and am glad to find that she is such a philanthropist. How nice!

    You have done an awesome job in promoting “Indies Unite for Joshua” and leading the charge. You rock!




    • I’m thrilled to re-discover Janis’ music too, though it’s always been in my collection. I’m looking forward to reading her autobiography now.

      Thanks for everything, Ardee-ann,



  4. A superlatively written article, Eden on the iconic, Grammy award-winning, musical legend, philanthropist and esteemed author, Janis Ian. Ms Ian continues to bless this planet and raise the world’s consciousness, for the better, with both her wisdom and charitable works.

    Warmest regards to both you, and Ms Ian.

    R. Jeffreys


  5. Eden. This is pure excitement! I love Janis! Her songs, singing and the help and great things she does for so many people and projects is amazing!


  6. Wow, she is amazing! And her music is incredible.


  7. that’s fantastic!! good for you, amazing that Janis Ian is supporting Indies Unite for Joshua.
    i had the great fortune to see Janis Ian live, back in, oh maybe 1993? something like that. she is one of the most talented guitar players i have ever seen. and so generous.


  8. Oh wow that is amazing…I love her song At Seventeen…It is a classic and this is such good news for the cause…


  9. May

    Wow, I had no idea Janis Ian still performed and I might be able to see her since she’s coming my way. Thanks Eden for your work on the fundraiser. What a great coup to get Janis Ian to support it!


  10. Mark

    What an amazing life she’s led. I look forward to reading her book.


  11. “At Seventeen” is such a great song. So deeply and nostalgically resonant of those teenage years, and not just for girls.

    Well done, Eden, for all your hard efforts on behalf of Josh and his family.


  12. tricia moore

    Thank you for all you are doing for my son. There are no words to describe how much this all means to us. You are amazing!!!


    • Tricia! 🙂

      Wait until you see the great stuff Janis is donating. She’s such a fab lady.
      Joshua and Max are both lucky to have you running the social media rounds!
      Big big hugs,


  13. justinbog

    Eden, sorry for taking so long to comment here — yesterday was a crazy blogging day, and I took today to catch up on reading my new favorite blog. What wonderful news about Janis Ian. I love her passion, and will read Part 2 next week. My hat is off to you and your drive to help Joshua. The world needs more people with your mindset.


  14. Pingback: Inside the Author’s Mind – Janis Ian |

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