Saturday, March 17, 2012


Janis Ian, folk-rock singer who wrote her second song at the age of 13. It was controversial and a major hit, “Society’s Child” about an interracial romance forbidden by a girl's mother and frowned upon by her teachers and peers as well. In the song the girl ultimately decides to end the relationship, claiming the societal norms of the day have left her no other choice. It was the era of her friends such as Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix.

In 1975 Janis won the 1975 Grammy Award for the Best Pop Vocal Performance for her hit “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.” The song is just as prevalent today.

Back then the government was watching her and her family and not for anything they really did…which made for another hit called, “God and the FBI”. “Mama's making mimeos. Pete's on the stereo singing 'bout freedom, bugs in the bedroom Big investigation - danger to the nation Search and seizure, better buy a lawyer ‘We know you're a member’ ‘Saw you under cover’. ‘Are you hiding evidence?’ None of this makes any sense.”

The music industry doesn’t love her. Why? You can go to her website and download free music and lyrics. She thinks it makes for better sales. So do I.

Fans of the soap opera General Hospital may remember hearing the song, “When Angels Cry”. “Wait. Your tired arms must rest. Let this moment pass. Wait until the morning. Close your eyes and you will see who you used to be left without a warning. Who knew one so big could grow so small? Lighter than the writing on the wall.
When angels cry, can I stand by? When stones weep, can my heart sleep? Wish I'd never heard, wish I'd never heard Wish I'd never heard the power of a four letter word.” I’m sure that the four letter word is “love”.

Listening to her CD, “Best of Janis Ian” I realize that the music is not “old”, it’s not folk music like “Peter, Paul and Mary” and there’s a bit of jazz mixed in. Janis will be performing at Queens Theatre in the Park (as I am still calling it) on Saturday, April 21 for two shows.

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