Janis Ian Bio, Spouse, Early life, Music career, Album and Songs

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Janis Ian Biography

Janis Ian was born of her parents Victor, a music teacher and Pearl, a college fundraiser. She is an American singer and songwriter who was most commercially successful in the 1960s and 1970s; her most widely recognized song, “At Seventeen”, was released as a single from her 1975 album Between the Lines which reached number 1 on the Billboard chart.

Janis Ian

Born in 1951 in New York City, Ian entered the American folk music scene while still a teenager in the mid-1960s. Most active musically in that decade and the 1970s, she has continued recording into the 21st century. She has won two Grammy Awards, the first in 1975 for “At Seventeen” and the second in 2013 for Best Spoken Word Album, for her autobiography, Society’s Child, with a total of ten nominations in eight different categories.

Ian is also a columnist and science fiction author.

Janis Ian Age

Janis Ian was born on April 7, 1951 in Farmingdale, New Jersey, United States and turns 72 years in 2023.

Janis Ian Spouse

Ian married Portuguese filmmaker Tino Sargo in 1978 and the two divorced in 1983. Details of Sargo’s physical and emotional abuse were discussed in Ian’s autobiography. After moving to Nashville, she met Patricia Snyder in 1989. Ian came out as a lesbian in 1993 with the worldwide release of her album Breaking Silence. Snyder and Ian married in Toronto on August 27, 2003.

Janis Ian Children

Ian has a stepdaughter and two grandchildren with Snyder.

Janis Ian Early life

Born in New York City, Janis Fink was primarily raised in New Jersey, initially on a farm, and attended East Orange High School in East Orange, New Jersey, and the New York City High School of Music & Art. Her parents, Victor, a music teacher, and Pearl, a college fundraiser, were Jewish-born liberals who ran a summer camp in upstate New York.

As a child, Ian admired the work of folk pioneers such as Joan Baez and Odetta. Starting with piano lessons at the age of two (at her own insistence), Ian, by the time she entered her teens, was playing the organ, harmonica, French horn and guitar. At the age of 12, she wrote her first song, “Hair of Spun Gold”, which was subsequently published in the folk publication Broadside and was later recorded for her eponymous debut album. In 1964, she legally changed her name to Janis Ian, taking her brother Eric’s middle name as her new surname.

Janis Ian Music career

At the age of 14, Ian wrote and recorded her first hit single, “Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking)”, about an interracial romance forbidden by a girl’s mother and frowned upon by her peers and teachers. Produced by George “Shadow” Morton and released three times from 1965 to 1967, “Society’s Child” became a national hit upon its third release after Leonard Bernstein featured it in a CBS TV special titled Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution.

The song’s theme of interracial relationships was considered taboo by some radio stations, who withdrew or banned it from their playlists accordingly. In her 2008 autobiography Society’s Child, Ian recalls receiving hate mail and death threats as a response to the song and mentions that a radio station in Atlanta that played it was burned down. In the summer of 1967, “Society’s Child” reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, the single having sold 600,000 copies and the album 350,000.

At the age of 16, Ian met comedian Bill Cosby backstage at a Smothers Brothers show where she was promoting Society’s Child. Since she was underage, she was accompanied by a chaperone while touring. After her set, Ian had been sleeping with her head on her chaperone’s lap (an older female family friend). According to Ian in a 2015 interview, she was told by her then manager that Cosby had interpreted their interaction as “lesbian” and as a result “had made it his business” to warn other television shows that Ian wasn’t “suitable family entertainment” and “shouldn’t be on television” because of her sexuality, thus attempting to blacklist her. Although Ian would later come out as lesbian, she states that at the time of the encounter with Cosby she had only been kissed once, in broad daylight at summer camp.

Ian relates on her website that, although “Society’s Child” was originally intended for Atlantic Records and the label paid for her recording session, Atlantic subsequently returned the master to her and quietly refused to release it. Ian relates that years later, Atlantic’s president at the time, Jerry Wexler, publicly apologized to her for this. The single and Ian’s 1967 debut album (which reached number 29 on the charts) were finally released on Verve Forecast. In 2001, “Society’s Child” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which honors recordings considered timeless and important to music history. Her early music was compiled on a double CD entitled Society’s Child: The Verve Recordings in 1995.

Janis Ian Album

  1. Janis Ian [1967]
  2. For All the Seasons of Your Mind
  3. The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink
  4. Who Really Cares
  5. Present Company
  6. Stars
  7. Aftertones
  8. Between the Lines
  9. Miracle Row
  10. Janis Ian
  11. Remember
  12. Night Rains
  13. Restless Eyes
  14. Uncle Wonderful
  15. Breaking Silence
  16. Revenge
  17. Hunger
  18. God & the FBI
  19. Billie’s Bones
  20. Folk Is the New Black
  21. Unreleased 2: Take No Prisoners

Janis Ian Songs

  1. At Seventeen
  2. Society’s Child
  3. Fly Too High
  4. In the Winter
  5. The Other Side of the Sun
  6. Love Is Blind
  7. When the Party’s Over
  8. Jesse
  9. Bright Lights and Promises
  10. Hair of Spun Gold
  11. Tea and Sympathy
  12. Silly Habits
  13. Water Colors
  14. Stars
  15. Will You Dance?
  16. Light a Light
  17. Days Like These
  18. She Must Be Beautiful
  19. Boy, I Really Tied One On
  20. My Autobiography
  21. Ride Me Like a Wave
  22. I Hear You Sing Again
  23. The Man You Are in Me
  24. Lover’s Lullaby
  25. Some People’s Lives
  26. When Angels Cry
  27. Take Me Walking in the Rain
  28. Honor Them All
  29. Paris in Your Eyes
  30. Younger Generation Blues
  31. Thankyous

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