At Seventeen (4:40)

Cover of Between The Lines

From Between The Lines and 70 other releases

For many people, the age of seventeen is awkward and riddled with angst. There are pressures and worries that seem so trivial looking back when you’re older. But at that unpleasant and uncertain age life can be very troublesome. So Janis Ian wraps up that angst so well in what has become one of the best songs ever written. The lyrics are a masterpiece, and lend themselves to people of different races, backgrounds, colour, and even gender. Even males can relate to the feelings of unfairness and desperation. Quite simply a shining example of how to mix clever lyrics sung with such clarity together with acoustic guitar. Sheer brilliance.


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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

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • x03c6

    Ugly people admire beautiful people and hate those who are like them.

    7 Apr 4:36pm Reply
  • joklend

    Hearing this song live in Gateshead a few years ago was unforgettable. I love her.

    18 Feb 2:10am Reply
  • HayleighRayment

    Sports and the control plays in a nice to misery is a song which breaks my heart when I was in true

    11 Jan 10:23pm Reply
  • minotaur21

    Beautiful poignant song

    20 Sep 2014 Reply
  • silversurfer250

    High School is not all what it's cracked up to be.

    13 Sep 2014 Reply
  • Theresatyrrell

    Brings back memories of when i was younger and the world was simplier.

    28 Jan 2014 Reply
  • nomoresongs

    Heard a song recently about her trying to have a one-night stand. Forty years gone by and she still sounds as sad...

    26 Jan 2014 Reply
  • baroqueviolins

    Remember the artist and the song. She has a beautiful voice. The song was played quite often on the radio station. The song has beautiful music, however, the lyrics evoke sadness. Still enjoy listening to it.

    24 Dec 2013 Reply
  • sheafholme

    NICE but sad

    11 Oct 2013 Reply
  • thesleepycloud

    I'm fascinated. It can be the soundtrack for my childhood.

    12 Jul 2013 Reply
  • corky64

    So good....<3

    2 Mar 2013 Reply
  • quiettt

    universally painful. a good hurt from times past

    7 Feb 2013 Reply
  • greenthumbelina


    4 Feb 2013 Reply
  • Yellowbadger

    A truly wonderful song. Even as a male I can totally relate to her heart-breaking lyrics; intelligent and sincerely felt - utterly brilliant.

    1 Feb 2013 Reply
  • Distron

    I can relate...backwards comparability?

    6 Dec 2012 Reply
  • ThirstLight


    9 Nov 2012 Reply
  • tapestry4now

    So beautiful ... So haunting ...

    17 Oct 2012 Reply
  • anniemel13

    special song for me...

    29 Jul 2012 Reply
  • MitschoMitscho

    I never really listen to lyrics. This is the exception. Almost too sad.

    4 Jul 2012 Reply
  • marybrian46

    bring back the memories why don,t you, Nice song, not to sure bout the past it reminds me of

    27 Jun 2012 Reply
  • All 229 shouts

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