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  • I learned the truth at seventeen,
    That love was meant for beauty queens
  • There's never much to say between
    The moments of our games and repartee
  • Put your ear to the ground,
    there's a buzz
    about a new type of song
  • And I'm leaving the light on the stairs
    No I'm not scared - I wait for you
    Hey Jesse, I'm lonely, come home
  • Nothing's sadder than the man who thinks he's free
    when he is chained to the prison of his hatred,
    and a dream gone up in flames
  • I would tell her how I've yearned
    to be worthy of the grail.
    All these years and all I've learned
    is just how brilliantly I fail
  • There are voices on the wind.
    Stolen whispers, sacred moans.
    You can hear them through your skin,
    and the singing of the bones
  • Here we all are, waiting for God,
    or someone who looks just like Him
  • We live beyond our means
    on other peoples' dreams,
    and that's succeeding
  • We were speaking of values and violence.
    Breaking silence
  • And if I never reach Orion,
    and if I never fly that far -
    still there's no harm in trying
    to go walking on a star
  • And if Jesus was a black man,
    or as white as Sambo's grin,
    it's his words that we'd remember,
    not the color of his skin
  • Old lace and picture frames
    rattle their ancient chains.
    Midnight will surprise moonlight at the door
  • I want to make you love me,
    and I want to make you smile,
    and I want to be your family,
    for just a little while
  • I believe in tomorrow,
    but I remember yesterday
  • How could I have loved you for so long?
    I know I enjoyed you,
    but how could I have liked you?
  • Old cliches, they grow like vines,
    to clutch the heart of the one you leave behind
  • It's the road that makes the rhythm.
    It's the chalk marks on her soul.
  • She was younger than forever.
    She was older than goodbye.
  • It's not who you love,
    but whether you can.
  • Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.
    Sursum, Domini, sursum Domini.
    Ora pro nobis, in ora pro nobis pacem, Kyrie.
    In ora Kyrie eleison. Kyrie.
  • She can taste it on your breath,
    cutting through the cigarette.
    She can smell it on your sweat
  • The city casts no shadow now.
    At midnight,
    all the whores come out and dance with darkness,
    and the night rains pour.
  • How does it feel to pull out the nails,
    and find you still can walk?
  • Yesterday's preacher,
    today's bikini beacher
  • Now all over this big wide world,
    I play like a girl -
    from the California lights to the Serengetti nights,
    I play like a girl
  • Close the light. Still the flames.
    Candles light the empty frames.
    A photograph can never be
    the song you are to me.
  • Some overdose, and some wrap like a rose
    'round the slick perfumed nose of high noon.
    Burning their lips as they stoop low
    to kiss some rich man's excuse for the moon.
  • First time I saw Paris in your eyes,
    you told me how you loved me,
    under blue Picasso skies.
  • No one sends roses to crazy old ladies
    who lie in dark dusty rooms,
    the size of a small foreign car.
    Sometimes I wonder
    where all the good people are.
  • Some sell their bodies for dimes,
    while others marry for the houses,
    and the jewelry.
    It's a real thin line,
    what you charge for your time.
  • Hide me in the wisdom of your thighs.
    Ride me like a wave.
  • And is she beautiful?
    She must be pretty, or worse,
    to ride the high seas.
  • The gates of the city are closed until dawn,
    when the ghosts of midnight have come and gone,
    and the hearts of the weary carry on
  • Why can't my wings soar like yours?
    Why can't my span spread as wide?
    Maybe I've got too much left to hide
  • I am waiting for my life to be
    one long unbroken symphony.
    Will it come too late to shelter me?
    I long to be eternity.
    Come on, come on, eternity!
  • I lay the baby out each dawn,
    inbetween the tender corn,
    with sunrise for her bonnet,
    and flies her only blanket.
  • Somewhere out there are millions just like me -
    homesick for Eden,
    heartsick at the memory.
  • You mistake the moment for the song.
    The drama for the play.
    The actor for the role.
    The neon light for day.
  • The old ones like to claw and clutch.
    Be careful not to offer much.
    They understand the fist and crutch.
  • Here I am dancing at last.
    Holding my own,
    even when the band plays fast -
    tonight's the night!
  • How we used to like the old-time movies.
    The silent picture show,
    where you make up your life
    at the end of the night,
    as your reel to reels unfold
  • Her new name was tattooed to her wrist.
    It was longer than the old one... tattoo.
  • God said I wish you'd known me,
    when I still believed you'd be true.
    Now for the rest of your days,
    when you call our my name,
    I'll be "Mr. God" to you.
  • Every man's an island in the desert of his soul.
    Take to the sky,
    there's nowhere else to go.
  • I went to drink some water,
    but the faucet heads were gone.
    They weren't sterling silver,
    but I loved to turn them on.
  • Enough about me - let's talk about you.
    What do you think of me?
  • Janis Ian - Photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian - Photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian playing percussion for 'Stars' - Photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian on stage
  • Janis Ian - Photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian with Kathy Mattea & Deanna Carter cutting 'Emmanual'
  • Janis Ian with Eric Bibb & Leon Bibb
  • Janis Ian with Eric Bibb
  • Janis Ian with Utah Philips & Eric Bibb
  • Young Janis Ian with Leonard Bernstein
  • Janis, Judy Collins, Leonard Cohen - Bottom Line 12-01-74
Hot News
  • Latest Huffington Post article!

    Titled "Women Under Trumpcare", you can read Janis' newest article here. 

  • Watch The New "1776" Video

    Christine Lavin has created a video for Janis' new song, "1776." You can view it on Janis' website in the Viewing Room, on YouTube or on Janis' Facebook page. You can also download the song from the Free Downloads page.

    Honoring our country's return to the dark ages, we hope this video will enlighten you!

  • Janis Releases New Song, "1776"

    Janis has released a new song, "1776," in honor of, well, 1776. We've made it available as a free download! Visit the downloads page to download. The lyrics are also available in the lyrics section.

more hot news

Hot News

more free downloads

Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on April 24, 2017

more tour dates

Free is good, but think of the karmic benefits of taking the money that the above downloads would have cost at some other on-line music site, and then donating that money to a good cause. My gosh, a few of these and you're on the path to nirvana! The link below can be used to make a contribution to the The Pearl Foundation. Donations are accepted via Paypal. Every penny raised by this link benefits the Pearl Foundation.


Send us an email offering a donation in return for something special. (See the Pearl Foundation pages for more info!)


The Pearl Foundation / eBay Giving WorksIf you do business on eBay you can now add The Pearl Foundation to your list of supported charities through eBay Giving Works and donate a portion of your transaction. It's an easy way to contribute!

Or if you don't have a computer, you can send a check to:

The Pearl Foundation
PO Box 150099
Nashville TN 37215

Featured Image

Bright Lights & Promises:
Redefining Janis Ian
by Sarah Partridge

A brilliant take on Janis' work, seen through the lens of a highly regarded jazz vocalist and her stunning band. Janis' jazz roots go back to her mother's love of Nina Simone, and musicians like Richard Davis and Chick Corea, who've played with her over the years. She even made the cover of Downbeat! Magazine when she was just sixteen years old!

From Sarah: "The idea for this project emerged out of a longing to salute a singer/songwriter outside of my own genre. Janis's body of work was extremely interesting to me and I saw and heard some real possibilities for a reimagination of some of her material. Then we started talking... and the whole world opened up. The result is a collection of known, unknown and brand new music. The making of this album has been a joyful and rewarding experience in every way."

Janis Ian and Sarah Partridge

From Janis: "Sarah and I met through an online Grammy voters group, and we hit it off. When she approached me about doing an album of my work, I was immediately excited. She's a wonderful singer with impeccable taste in musicians and arrangers. I gave her full access to my catalogue, even though she'd already been through everything she could find - and she grabbed "Forever and a Day", which I'd only done a worktape of recently.

I thought it would be great if we could create a couple of songs written speicifically for her voice and this project, so I invited her down to Nashville (not realizing she'd never done a co-write before). She was very brave to come, and a joy to work with.

I think I'd had the title "Quarter Past Heartache" for a while but never known what to do with it. I only knew I didn't want it to be another "My man left me and I'm so sad" song - so we flipped it around and wound up with something up-tempo and funny, with a scat section to boot. Sarah brought the concept of "Somebody's Child" in with her, and that was gorgeous from the start.

The thing I like best about Sarah is her willingness to listen, and contribute. From the title of this album - which is really what she's done, she's re-defined my work - to the choice of songs (no one else has dared to record "Matthew", or "Tattoo") to the fun we had recording together, (she's really tall, I'm really short. I thought I should have stood on a box, like short leading men in Hollywood do), the project was a pleasure. And that's really, really rare.

Purchase the CD now!

Janis Ian Live

Janis On Tour!

Janis has some tour dates coming up this summer and fall. You can get more detailed information about any of these dates on the Tour Page.

Wednesday, May 3rd
The Bluebird Cafe
Nashville, TN

Friday, June 2nd
Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater
New Brunswick, NJ

Saturday, June 3rd
Workshops at The Atrium, Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ

Sunday, June 4th
Private Show
New Jersey

Friday, June 9th
Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Performing Arts
Olympia, WA

Saturday, June 10th
Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Performing Arts
Olympia, WA

Saturday, June 17th
Private Show
Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, July 30th through Saturday, August 5th
Swannanoa Gathering
Asheville, NC

Friday, September 15th - Saturday, September 16th
Ellnora Guitar Festival - Krannert Center
Urbana-Champaign, IL

More Info

"The Autobiography Collection" CD/BookSociety's Child: My Autobiography: AudiobookSociety's Child: The Verve RecordingsSociety's Child Book Foreign Author's Preferred EditionStars eBook
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