Arden, Jann - At Seventeen Lyrics

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 ones 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
Married into what she needs
A guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly.

Remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
Indebentures 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 know 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
And dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me.
We all play the game and when we dare
To 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

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Arden, Jann At Seventeen Comments
  1. Mike Scott Singh

    Each has their version but even a better voice can't do as well as the original.

  2. Bill Anthony

    Trying to pick the best cover of this song. This version makes the semi-finals. It's not that this woman doesn't have a great voice, because she does. For those interested in comparisons, I suggest you check out Laura Hand's version.

  3. tongolele

    You are so right. She w as 22-- it was 1975 and actually the lyrics are retrospective, so it is exactly about some one looking back-- at 17, so she couldn't be singing this when she was 17

  4. glowros

    Try Janey's Blues and Pro-Girl off of Janis' first album if you want to hear two of the most heart ripping songs of that generation.

  5. Louise Bader

    Perhaps leave this one to Janis!! Why mess with a beautiful song and create such a unwarranted copy. Maybe you could sing your own music if you have some?

  6. Superbook4Eva

    Actually Janis was in her early 20s when she wrote this song. When Janis herself was 17, she was coming off a big hit with "Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking)." I have never thought Janis was all that ugly though. The covers of her "Stars" and "Between The Lines" albums are beautiful.

    And yes, Jann is awesome! I've been a fan since my aunt bought me "Living Under June" when "Insensitive" was a hit. Very underappreciated talent, at least outside Canada.

  7. QueerSwede1

    so good....can´t listen over and over to this

  8. Linda Greengrass

    so many of us can identify with this

  9. lacombelj

    I just love this song Jann. You sing it soo hauntingly, it's like hearing a little prayer streignt from the heart. My God girl how write & sing is beyond amazing. Jann R. you are just a little piece of heaven sent for us mortals to realize all the beauty this world has to offer. I love you sweet lady and just gotta say You are Amazing!!!!

    diane petersen

    lacombelj Jann Arden is indeed amazing, but she did not write this song. Janis Ian did.