Ian, Janis - 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 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 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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Ian, Janis At Seventeen Comments
  1. Joseph Caranante

    I love this whole song...but the line that REALLY gets to me is the part about being the last to be chosen for basketball games. Man that was me...and it was so embarrassing for a kid back then. I remember that pain...and this song is quite evocative of it

  2. Dave Straw

    Superb song,relates to us all at some point...
    "Valentines that never came".

  3. betty davis

    What a depressing song!

  4. Stephen Breeze

    beatiful song took ten year to find

  5. Gerwyn Evans

    Timeless classic

  6. Roger Borroel

    1975 = my puppy!

  7. trangenusa

    God I love this song. It makes me so Nostalgic and want to cry. Those were the good times, the 1970's. This song came out and had airplay in 1975-1976. Back then I was living in Indianapolis Indiana and was in Jr. High. Then moved to LA after the Blizzards of 1977 and 1978. I've been in LA 40 years since then. LOL

  8. Steven Boone

    If your 18 or older get a grip on yourself!!

  9. Steven Boone

    When your 17 your curious. If he's over seventeen he's a Pedophile. Its his choice and the Deep state is all over this for decades now. Its got to stop!

  10. charles mann

    Just Beautiful to Hear This Every Time!

  11. Charles Layton

    At 17, I was a mess, scared to talk to girls, it was a fough time, I was shy and heavy, no confidence in anything, a brutal time

  12. Christina Masden

    awwww , such nice backing instrumentation

  13. taurnguard

    SEVENTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN ... days until Christmas! :)

  14. Dave Spence

    Hell yep. X: )

  15. Walter Mccubbin

    From the day's when people could write songs and play their instruments..

  16. Angel Lai

    My heart aches every time I listen to this song because the song embodies my deepest fear (or reality) that I don't want to face....

  17. Jenn Koko

    impanema ...u know

  18. Naught Guile

    I can so relate despite being a dude.

  19. Gail Parker

    ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ 17 Valentine's....I LOVE YOU...

  20. Bensidhoum Mohamed

    le plus bel age de l'existence😉

  21. Cathy Cook

    A classic.

  22. Clare Butterfield

    Truth be sung!

  23. Karl Pursch

    Some of us have never recovered from our teen year's...A game of hopscotch with the Devil.

  24. Steve Costanzo

    You're beautiful.

  25. Ian McGreevy

    Another “seventeen song” is ABBAs Dancing Queen

  26. CeeCee Crockett

    It's what they do!

  27. not alive

    Homero buscando su alma gemela. <\3

  28. P wie Pepe

    Can we please hold on for a second and commit that this a a wonderful song, especially the part with the trumpet.

    o kap mein kap

    Or French horn?

    P wie Pepe

    @o kap mein kap why not :-)

    o kap mein kap

    @P wie Pepe y not not. 🤪 happy Turkey day friend

    P wie Pepe

    @o kap mein kap same for you

  29. steve love

    To all the girls who stayed at home Friday and Saturday nights....

    o kap mein kap

    .... Come party with me!!!

  30. John Golofit

    This was one of many great songs of all types during the Summer of 1975. It was a privilege to have been alive back then at nineteen...

    o kap mein kap

    At 19 in 75 means that you either drew the fucking unlucky number came back from Nam or you lucked in didn't have to go.

  31. Boo Spanyer Cassiopeia

    Look at that face!
    *She's* *gorgeous* 😻😍😻

  32. Rick Rodrigues

    Girl spurned & in despair...emotionally devastating!

  33. graham gagg

    Why don’t we get music like this anymore........

  34. Steve Costanzo

    My very first album that wasn't a hand-me-down.

  35. A lesser Gracie

    Janis Ian was way ahead of her time. in the midst of the womens movement janis ian divides women by class, looks, other things not related to gender. she both defies and adbides by what it was like back then at 17..and apparently still is. iShe is describing me at that time, and so many other awkward girls who didn't fit into the in-groups, or just did not want to fall in line with High School normative expectations. Society's Child is another powerful song that brought inter-racial relationships to more awareness. It's a heartbreaking song. She will always be a quiet pioneer of social issues for me. Giving voice to the voiceless, and everyone wants to at least be heard and acknowledged, she did that for many of us for whom "...lacking in the social graces, desperately remained at home, inventing ....." Yeah, that was me. But for me it was this idea that I had to have some lover on the phone at 17, and if I didn't go to homecoming or the school dances or have someone to dance with I was some outcast.but more importantly it is the line, she married young and then retired says it all these were pretty much our options, back then as a boomer. I stayed at home and made art, and was still considered to be a weirdoand often lonely like this Ian gives grace to "girls like me." at 17. Great song.

    o kap mein kap

    Honestly I can't tell she is white black or somewhere in between. But what I can see is a nice looking woman a very fine human being whose poems resonate with do many. She is one reason why America is so special and so opposite at same time.

    A lesser Gracie

    @o kap mein kap she is white, but what difference does it make? she could be singing the song from either point of view, but at that time, it is from a white girls' poc. What is it about the JI that makes Am so special and not so special? Yes, I agree, a fine human being and more, a voice for women when we had none. Also remember the social context in which the song was written,,a time of great dissent, the 60s, 70s and the Civil Rights Act was just passed in 1965, so we were struggling with staggering racism. In my HS, there were 3 black students among 1,000. It was when George Wallace tried to block a federally mandated segregation of schools in Georgia. The song was part of a string of "protest songs" about social mores.

    o kap mein kap

    @A lesser Gracie not one iota, I would have asked her for the prom night, if she would say yes that is. Poc??? America is a tale of two stories before America was America; is always ambivalent, yes and no, and yes and no at same time, and this aspect of our nation makes us sons and daughters of this great nation, whatever the color, so special and so awful at same time. Happy and lovely Thanksgiving my dear!

    A lesser Gracie

    @o kap mein kap thank you. typo i meant pov point of view HAPPY THANKSGIVING O YOU TOO

  36. No. 5

    “This really goes beyond my training as a furniture salesman, sir.”

    A lesser Gracie

    no 5 ----funny----what are your quoting it is hilarious

  37. Lanie Glaser

    I have loved this song for so long. Every time I hear it, it takes me back. Music from the 70's is the best.

    o kap mein kap

    Every time you go away, you take a piece of me, eee

  38. Red Is Kinda Dead

    Came here from a book I read with some of the lyrics in it. A good book, an even better song.

  39. Nadia and the secret of the crystal 🤓bleu mangajap ensuite the fucking end of the world love story les deux 😢😢😢😢💑💜💝💔💓💖💞💟💗❣💌💌💌💘💔💓💖💗 +infini. ..

  40. Dariouche Ilyass

    From the blacklist 💜

  41. Joseph D'Silva

    How could you not be touched by these sensitive lyrics. Wonderful kiddo

  42. Scott Cunnius

    Young people today don't know what real music is

    o kap mein kap

    C'mon, appreciating good music doesn't mean you have to put down other genres of music

  43. Janice Speed

    So long ago.......memories are here to stay! At 17....

    o kap mein kap

    how about.... 92!!! 😄😄😄😄😄😄 happy Thanksgiving lady

  44. Edgar Aguirre


  45. Dawn Heller

    I can relate

  46. Jodi Schultz

    So Damn beautiful. loved you since i was 17

    o kap mein kap

    but I was only 14, a tender 14 who never even heard of senior prom in 75...

  47. Naomi Armitage

    I was 6 when this came out. Had forgotten it by the time I turned 17. Looking back, it all came true for me. At seventeen.

    o kap mein kap

    Wow, you remember this song you listened to at 6? Holy macaroni my dear.

  48. Andy Shoji

    She got some of this wrong: (A Hard Truth) ..A woman doesn't care what a man looks like: He can have a ravaged face as he spends long days making cash. A man doesn't care about women's social graces as long as she looks like a cheerleader even in hand-me-downs.

  49. Khalil is

    who come from the simpson season 8 episode 9

  50. Linda Kidd

    At 18, I became a beautiful butterfly. Socially, high school was difficult; college was much improved. There is hope for all of us.


    Beautiful song

  52. Sal Guglielmino

    Always one of my favorite singers/artists/poets. Brave and wonderful.

  53. Mark Parsons

    What a great song this is.

  54. Jan Agzennai

    I love and hated this record, and years later saw the look on my daughter face when she first heard the words, but luckily my daughters curly hair didn’t hold her back.


    A beautiful woman and song ❤️😍

  56. lalisa

    Those songs are literally masterpiece. I'm 17 and i'm wrong generation's child darn

  57. Sam Vallejo

    what's amazing is some girls who were beauties in high school really turned ugly in later years the ugly ones omg turned out beautiful no one really knows how we will age til it happens great song Sam Vallejo

  58. almsawir assagaf

    Teotfw. Alyssa

  59. FAT BAT

    what is this type of music?

  60. Cory Elliott

    End of the f***ing world such a good Netflix series and a good song so I'm happy

  61. Dale Rowan


    Hugh Segrave

    Not true, there is love for everyone..  everyone..

  62. Denise Allen

    Wish I was 17 listening in 2019 November 💕

    Hugh Segrave

    Ah me too..

  63. Seb Rebis

    The end of fucking world brought me here. This is great actually. I am just 22

  64. Vince Fisher

    She sang this on SNL back in 1975.

  65. Vince Fisher

    What a stunning song.

  66. olvida tus problemas

    Homero simpson el mejor🧤

  67. Marcus Cactus

    So where are the lyrics ?

  68. Thierry Devant


  69. Rita Ferreira

    Elaborated lyrics and very nice melody.

  70. Silvia Claudi

    The end of the f***ing world brought me here

    noran Salim

    sameeeeee loll

    Michelle Mealey

    Me too beautiful song x

    Jenn Koko

    oh Silvia claudi van damn it anyway....i know you dont see your own blessings and beauty as Janis Ian thinks beauty queens only get love....Im gonna love you and Janis and the beauty queens kings et cet era u know what i mean....pssssssst.....it could be worse...i could be overthere singing all day nonstop.....ponder that a few....lol...land o' lakes i tink

  71. Charles L Jones

    A beautiful artistic introspective song that makes you feel the pain she experienced when she realized that too many guys place their values on physical beauty and make those who possess inner beauty feel unwanted

  72. Michele Goudie

    Nice. I first listened to it when I was 17. Stilll listening to n loving it at 55

  73. Joseph Farrara

    Great song, I think she's pretty!

  74. Claire Ryan

    That was me

    Claire Ryan

    But then later in life I was miss butlins miss wales x

  75. Robbie De Wolde

    Oh Derrick,Ifeel the same.....

  76. Souper309d

    was there ever a song with more pain in it?

  77. anthony stephenson

    She is very attractive but beauty is only skin deep but in the looks orientated world we live in it is unfair.

  78. slownlo

    Heard this song again after not hearing it for decades. Janis' lyrical skill is unmatched to this day... amazing talent.

    Steve Melancon

    Well said slownlo, well said indeed.

  79. JohnPaul Dixon

    Sniff, sighs, dries eyes.

  80. jeff kendall

    my late wife said this song is almost her in high school we had 35 wonderful years before her death last may

  81. Neil Parry

    An ex-girlfriend of mine said she loved this song. She felt that it was written for her because she wasn't "a classic beauty". She wasn't what is known as "a classic beauty" (whatever that is) but she WAS beautiful! Lovely memories of you, Jo, wherever you are.

  82. Matt Nielsen

    *_Discussion of feminism_*
    So I haven't been adding this song to my playlist because it's so sad and self-defeating. Now I use it as a reminder about injustice in the world, and as a feminist make-me-angry song. In the past I have cried to this song, associated myself with it...
    "to cheat ourselves at solitaire." She really "packs a punch" as a musician.
    I admire her for the fact that she admitted to being a lesbian in these times (yes, I know her)

    Some food for thought: chivalry is dead, men judge women by looks way too much (the beauty standard is rigged).
    *Why is the beauty standard primarily about outside appearance?? And why do men laugh at Romeo of Shakespeare?* (the idea of a poet-lover is so shunned)
    Why can a man be a pig and get away with it? And a question: Have men failed?
    I think - yes.
    If you disagree, I welcome comments of disagreement.
    If you agree - in what other ways have men failed according to you?

  83. rick flood

    this song is so soothing.....the first time I heard it was in a dentists's chair during boot camp at Parris Island...gave me a little piece of serenity for a few minutes....

  84. Roger Borroel

    1975, September, I remember my puppy!

  85. Moris Peter

    They don't make this kind of song anymore

  86. henry callaway

    Awesome material to listen to. Very sweet tune. Very, very nostalgic.

  87. Katharina Maria

    I used to be so sad when listening to this because I thought no one would ever express romantic interest in me and that that was the greatest loss imaginable. Today I had my first kiss. It was so underwhelming that I realised I really hadn't been missing out on anything that significant. I wish I had known that romance wouldn't fulfill me or validate me, rather the opposite. I would've been so much less sad. I always felt like I was excluded from this amazing secret club of happy people because no one wanted to date me. Turns out once you're admitted the club activities are super boring and the food is shit.

  88. Fabrice Tremblay

    Que j'adore cette chanson....... xxxx

  89. Jeannine M

    I'm glad I grew up listening to this. And Know the lyrics. Because there aren't any. 😊🎵🎶

  90. Tessy D.

    there are more (ugly) people then beautyfull people so this song touched more (ugly) people then beautyfull people since only (ugly)people who had to work so hard for everything can apriciate real awesome and deep meaning songs then beautyfull people who had it always ez

  91. Tessy D.

    ah to be 17 again

  92. Graham W

    Lovely woman singer grate song takes me back to my childhood god bless Graham w

  93. RJ McAllister

    1974-75. A small adjustment to the lyrics and this applies to anyone. Fits me, for sure, even 45 years down the road. Though Janis didn't play that side of the fence, I found her attractive and, regardless, would have given her a large hug for this one.

  94. GERALD Masterson

    I remember 17. I'm 65 now. This song is timeless even for a guy!!!!

  95. Clovis Silva Da Silva

    Show 10!!

  96. Daniel Lambert

    many reasons to think back; all good to use memories!

  97. Hi Hi

    This applies to boys too

  98. Kevin Marley

    I heard this song on Saturday Night Live (when it was relatively new) and everyone just stopped and stared and were in an Eternal Moment. Great song!

  99. Dirk Kitzelman

    This was my theme song in High School. So love this song and it makes me sad in a good way. Mostly because I found a beautiful women who loved me for me.