Get this crazy baby off my head!


Janis Ian


Janis Ian - Who Really Cares - 1969 - Verve-Forecast

Recorded at the end of her troubled teenage tenure with MGM, Janis Ian's Who Really Cares limped out of the gate in 1969 to immediate obscurity. It's actually the strongest of her childhood efforts. Charlie Calello (responsible for Laura Nyro's Eli and the Thirteenth Confession) provides characteristically lush, ornamental production, while avoiding the gimmicks (police sirens, etc.) that Shadow Morton foisted on Ian's previous sets. But it is Ian's growth as a performer and songwriter that elevates Who Really Cares head and shoulders above the rest of her Verve recordings. The tracks might not have the political clout of her earliest work, but they more than compensate by way of gorgeous, sophisticated, fully realized music and dreamy, wistful lyrics. Ian displays remarkable musical scope; gone is the earnest folk, and in its place a stately jazz-pop-funk fusion, colored by crafty, energetic string, woodwind and horn arrangements. In particular, "Love You More Than Yesterday," "Sea and Sand," and "Do You Remember" stand up to repeated listens, while "Calling Your Name" — an unexpected stab at French chanson — really gets under the skin. Also conspicuous is Ian's vocal growth as the shrill, reedy, adolescent qualities of her voice give way to a warmer adult sound. The bulk of Who Really Cares appears on the two-CD compilation Society's Child. © Charles Donovan © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:jxfyxql5ldhe

Produced by Laura Nyro producer (and former Four Season) Charlie Calello, and the arrangements are well detailed and lovely - ghostly flutes (by Joe Farell) on "Snowbird," a trombone solo (by Tony Stud) on "Month Of May" - with strings, vibes, French horns and keyboards all used creatively and never laid on too thick. The songs cover various branches of pop, from the psychedelic rocker "Love You More Than Yesterday" (with a strikingly 90s-sounding high-pitched repeating hook) to the driving Walt Whitman-meets-Motown "Sea & Sand." Overall it's probably closer to Seasons Of Your Mind than any other Ian album, with two significant differences: the production is far more elegant, and the songwriting is far less ambitious. Lyrically Ian backs away from weighty themes in favor of navel-gazing ("Time On My Hands") and diffuse imagery ("Orphan Of The Wind"), and her vocals are sometimes hard to hear through all the instrumentation. Al Kooper plays organ on "Do You Remember?" and "Calling Your Name"; the rest of the large cast includes Dick Hyman (keyboards), Hugh McCracken, Stu Scharf and Ralph Casale (guitar), Bob Bushnell (bass), Al Rogers (drums), and a horde of string and horn players. *** © (DBW) Wilson & Alroy's Record Reviews http://www.warr.org/jian.html#WhoReallyCares

Janis Ian, like so many artists, including the great Maria Muldaur, is mainly known for a few songs/hit singles like"Society's Child" and "At Seventeen." But check out her back catalogue, and you will discover just how good a singer and great songwriter she is. Often branded as as a soft-rock folk singer, and although this is not necessarily a bad label to have, it is also not what Janis Ian is mainly about. Her musical scope extends much further than that. Janis, at one stage semi-retired from the music business, and moved to Nashville, where she penned many great songs for other artists. This great New York songstress, has released many great albums, and some of them classics, but not recognized as such. "Who Really Cares" contains nine quality songs. As usual, with Janis Ian, her songs are emotional, from the heart, and concentrate on serious social themes, although WRC is a very early album, (Her forth on Verve), and is less concerned with Janis' sociological songwriting side than some of her later albums. Janis' songs were never overly commercial, and perhaps this aspect of her songwriting has halted the success she has always deserved, but never really achieved. Janis Ian has a great noice, very well suited to blues and jazz as well as folk. She also never received the recognition she deserves for her guitar technique. Her albums,"Between the Lines", and "Breaking Silence " are absolute gems, and need to be heard. Give this album a listen, and buy her great "God & the FBI" album. Her "Stars" album is @ JANIAN/STRS and her "Hunger" album @ JANIAN/HNGR


1 Time On My Hands
2 Love You More Than Yesterday
3 Orphan Of The Wind
4 Sea And Sand
5 Galveston
6 Do You Remember
7 Month Of May
8 Calling Your Name
9 And I Did Ma

All songs composed by Janis Ian


Janis Ian - Guitar, Vocals
Stuart Scharf, Ralph Casale, Hugh McCracken - Guitar
Bob Bushnell - Bass
Dick Hyman - Organ
Al Kooper - Organ on "Do You Remember", and "Calling Your Name"
Al Rogers - Drums
Brad Spinney - Percussion
Joe Farrell, Romeo Penque - Saxophone
Bernie Glow - Trumpet
Tony Studd - Trombone
Ray Alonge - Horn
George Ricci - Cello
Harold Coletta - Viola
Gene Orloff, Joseph Malin, Manny Green, Marvin Stamm, Julius Schachter, Aaron Rosand - Violin


Janis Ian (born Born Janis Eddy Fink in New York City on April 7, 1951) is a Grammy Award-winning American songwriter, singer, multi-instrumental musician, columnist, and science fiction fan-turned-author. She had a highly successful singing career in the 1960s and 1970s, and has continued recording into the 21st century. At age thirteen, she legally changed her name to Janis Ian, her new last name being her brother's middle name. At the age of fifteen, Ian wrote and sang 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; the girl ultimately decides to end the relationship, claiming the societal norms of the day have left her no other choice. Produced by melodrama specialist George "Shadow" Morton and released three times between 1965 and 1967, "Society's Child" finally became a national hit the third time it was released, after Leonard Bernstein featured it in a TV special titled Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. The song's lyrical content was too taboo for some radio stations, and they withdrew or banned it from their playlists accordingly. In the summer of 1967, "Society's Child" reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Apparently "Society's Child" was too hot for Atlantic Records as well at the time. Ian relates on her website that although the song was originally intended for Atlantic and the label paid for her recording session, the label subsequently returned the master to her and quietly refused to release it. Years later, Ian says, Atlantic's president at the time, Jerry Wexler, publicly apologized to her for this. The single and Ian's 1967 eponymous debut album were finally released on Verve Forecast; her album was also a hit, reaching #12. In 2001, "Society's Child" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which honors recordings considered timeless and important to music history. Her most successful single was "At Seventeen," released in 1975, a bittersweet commentary on adolescent cruelty and teenage angst, as reflected upon from the maturity of adulthood. "At Seventeen" was a smash, receiving tremendous acclaim from critics and record buyers alike — it charted at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It even won the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female beating out the likes of Linda Ronstadt who was nominated for the classic Heart Like A Wheel album, Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy. Ian performed "At Seventeen" as a musical guest on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live on October 11, 1975. The song's album, Between The Lines, was also a smash and hit #1 on Billboard's Album chart. It was quickly certified Gold and later earned a 'Platinum' certification for sales of over one million copies sold in the US. Another measure of her success is anecdotal - on Valentine's Day 1977, Ian received 461 Valentine cards, having indicated in the lyrics to "At Seventeen" that she never received any as a teenager. "At Seventeen" can also be heard playing in the background in one scene in the 2004 movie Mean Girls. The movie, like the song, addresses the topic of teenage cruelty and alienation; the film features a character named "Janis Ian" who was not a lesbian but was called one nonetheless by some of her classmates in an attempt to demean her. The character was played by actress Lizzy Caplan. "At Seventeen" is also mentioned in Jeffrey Eugenides's 1993 novel The Virgin Suicides, where the song is used by four girls imprisoned in their own home and essentially cut off from normal adolescent experiences to communicate with the narrator and his friends. "Fly Too High" (1979) was her contribution to the soundtrack of the Jodie Foster film Foxes. It earned her a Grammy nomination and became a hit single in many countries, including South Africa, Belgium and the Netherlands. Another country where Ian has achieved a surprising level of popularity is Japan. She had two top 10 singles on the Japanese Oricon charts, "Love Is Blind" in 1976, and "You Are Love" in 1980; and her album Aftertones was a #1 best-seller there in October 1976. By contrast, in the U.S., Ian made the pop charts only once more after "At Seventeen" ("Under the Covers," #71 in 1981), though she had several more songs reach the Adult Contemporary singles chart through 1980 (all failing to make the Top 20, however). Ian spent much of the 1980s and early 1990s without a record deal; her label dropped her in 1981 following the disappointing sales of Miracle Row (1977), Night Rains (1979), and Restless Eyes (1981). "Basically, I didn't do anything from 1982 to 1992. Ian finally resurfaced in 1993 with the album Breaking Silence, its title song about incest. She came out as a lesbian with that release. Also in 1993 was her infamous Howard Stern Show appearance where she performed a "new" version of "At Seventeen" about Jerry Seinfeld. Ian has released five albums since (including one live album, 2003's Working Without A Net). Ian's most recent album, Folk Is The New Black, was released jointly by the Rude Girl and Cooking Vinyl labels in 2006. It is the first in over twenty years where she did all the songwriting herself. She still tours and has a devoted fan base. Other artists have recorded Ian's compositions, most notably Roberta Flack, who had a hit in 1973 with Ian's song "Jesse" (also recorded by Joan Baez; Ian's own version is featured on her 1974 album Stars). Ian also co-wrote "What About The Love?", featured on Amy Grant's 1988 album Lead Me On. She is an outspoken critic of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a record industry organization which she sees as acting against the interests of musicians and consumers. As such, she has willingly released several of her songs for free download from her website. She was not only one of the first artists to do this but also was one of the first, along with author Eric Flint, to show conclusive evidence that free downloads dramatically increased hard-copy sales, contrary to the claims of RIAA and NARAS. Ironically, Ian's signature tune At Seventeen sold over two million singles in the United States alone yet was never certified. "I've been surprised at how few people are willing to get annoyed with me over it," she laughs, "there was a little backlash here and there. I was scheduled to appear on a panel somewhere and somebody from a record company said if I was there they would boycott it. But that's been pretty much it. In general the entire reaction has been favorable. I hear from a lot of people in my industry who don't want to be quoted, but say 'yeah, we're aware of this and we'd like to see a change too'." In addition to being an award-winning singer/songwriter, Ian writes science fiction. A long-time reader of the genre, she got into science fiction fandom in 2001, attending the Millennium Philcon. Her works have been published in an assortment of anthologies, and she co-edited, with Mike Resnick, the anthology Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian, published in 2003. When her schedule permits, she occasionally attends science fiction conventions. Ian has been a regular columnist for, and still contributes to the LGBT news magazine, The Advocate. She has a selection of her columns available on her website. On July 24th 2008, Janis Ian released her Autobiography: Society's Child (published by Penguin Tarcher) to much critical acclaim. An accompanying double CD "The Autobiogrphy Collection" has also been released with all Ian's best loved songs. Ian currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with attorney Patricia Snyder, whom she married in Toronto, Canada on August 27, 2003.


A singer/songwriter both celebrated and decried for her pointed handling of taboo topics, Janis Ian enjoyed one of the more remarkable second acts in music history. After first finding success as a teen, her career slumped, only to enter a commercial resurgence almost a decade later. Janis Eddy Fink was born on May 7, 1951, in New York City. The child of a music teacher, she studied piano as a child and, drawing influence from Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, and Odetta, wrote her first songs at the age of 12. She soon entered Manhattan's High School of Music and Art, where she began performing at school functions. After adopting the surname Ian (her brother's middle name), she quickly graduated to the New York folk circuit. When she was just 15, she recorded her self-titled debut; the LP contained "Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking)," a meditation on interracial romance written by Ian while waiting to meet with her school guidance counselor. While banned by a few radio stations, the single failed to attract much notice until conductor Leonard Bernstein invited its writer to perform the song on his television special Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. The ensuing publicity and furor over its subject matter pushed "Society's Child" into the upper rungs of the pop charts, and made Ian an overnight sensation. Success did not agree with her, however, and she soon dropped out of high school. In rapid succession, Ian recorded three more LPs -- 1967's For All the Seasons of Your Mind, 1968's The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink, and 1969's Who Really Cares -- but gave away the money she earned to friends and charities. After meeting photojournalist Peter Cunningham at a peace rally, the couple married, and at age 20, she announced her retirement from the music business. The marriage failed, however, and she returned in 1971 with the poorly received Present Company. After moving to California to hone her writing skills in seclusion, Ian resurfaced three years later with Stars, which featured the song "Jesse," later a Top 30 hit for Roberta Flack. With 1975's Between the Lines, Ian eclipsed all of her previous success; not only did the LP achieve platinum status, but the delicate single "At Seventeen" reached the Top Three and won a Grammy. While subsequent releases like 1977's Latin-influenced Miracle Row, 1979's Night Rains, and 1981's Restless Eyes earned acclaim, they sold poorly. Ian was dropped by her label and spent 12 years without a contract before emerging in 1993 with Breaking Silence (the title a reference to her recent admission of homosexuality), which pulled no punches in tackling material like domestic violence, frank eroticism, and the Holocaust. Similarly, 1995's Revenge explored prostitution and homelessness. Two years later Ian returned with Hunger; God & the FBI followed in the spring of 2000. A live set, Working Without a Net, appeared from Rude Girl Records in 2003, and a DVD, Live at Club Cafe, saw release in 2005. Folk Is the New Black appeared as a joint release from Rude Girl and Cooking Vinyl in 2006. © Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Rebecca said...

WOW! Thank you for this one. I've always been intrigued by Janis Ian's Verve-era recordings, ever since I "borrowed" her debut LP from my aunt.

She has an amazing voice, but this album is even better than I expected. It kinda breaks my heart knowing that the record buying public passed over it when it came out. Every song is flawlessly beautiful, and the horn arrangements are awesome.

Thanks again (and I really hope you got your computer problem sorted out. I wish I could have been of help!)

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Rebecca. Great to hear from you and TUVM for your kind comments. Janis has always been overlooked, simply because her songs are not commercial enough. She was never in the music business for the money. She sings with sincerity and is not afraid to deal with controversial issues which mainstream media doesn't like. You won't see her on MTV! But who care?! She has a loyal fanbase, and obviously you are part of it, and that's great! I sorted out my PC problem. Thanks for asking. Come back soon, Rebecca. Take care

ratso said...

I notice that Rapidshare have fixed their issues, and I no longer have to tear out my remaining strands of hair trying to get stuff from there.

Thanks for sharing this, and also thanks to Rebecca for her insightful comments. I think Janis was too much like an open wound too for most consumers, who prefer their music to be nicely detached. She is certainly never dull or trite.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,ratso. Rapidshare was mental for a while, but as you say, it's working better now. Going back to Janis Ian. Rebecca is right but if you listen To Janis' "Live At The Club Cafe" album, she is not unduly concerned about public opinion. She composes music for herself, and certainly not for the rubbish mainstream market. This aspect of her songwriting will never change. Obviously people like Rebecca and you know real talent. You are the people Janis Ian writes for. Personally, I admire artists who never "sell out" or compromise their musical talents for the bigwigs in the record industry who only care about worshipping the dollar. Cheers, & TTU soon

miles said...

I've always thought it a shame that Ian continues to be overlooked, or perhaps more precisely, considered unfashionable. God knows she's had hits, and she's also released a more than respectable amount of excellent recordings over her long career. Yet oddly enough, I myself have yet to explore her Verve recordings. Having come back to her recently, I've decided to retify that oversight and this share will serve to help me get my feet wet. I'm already encouraged by the Nyro-like pose on the jacket, as well as the presence of Charlie Calello who additionally worked with Nyro.

Thanks for getting me going here.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,miles. The lady has always been overlooked. Give me unfashionable music anyday. It sure beats Lady Gaga! Thanks, & TTU soon

Starsailor said...

hi, this is not the original album you posted, one track is missing: "Snowblind" and "And I Did Ma" is from "From All the Seasons of Your Mind".
She's a great underrated singer, indeed.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Starsailor. Thanks for comment. Are the tracks on this not on the original release @ http://www.janisian.com/auction/discog.html even if sequenced differently? I'm interested...Thanks...P

Tony said...

The track listing for 'Who Really Cares' is rather intriguing.
Unfortunately, Discogs (http://www.discogs.com/artist/Janis+Ian#t=Releases_Albums&q=&p=1) doesn't have this listed, allmusic (http://www.allmusic.com/album/who-really-cares-main-entry-r41165) doesn't have a listing, but RYM (http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/janis_ian/who_really_cares/) has 'Snowbird' listed as the second track.

Also, janisian.com (http://www.janisian.com/albums/who.php) has the track listing as:
1 Time On My Hands
2 Snowbird
3 Love You More Than Yesterday
4 Orphan Of The Wind
5 Sea And Sand
6 Galveston
7 Do You Remember?
8 Month Of May
9 Calling Your Name

Strangely, 'Society's Child: The Verve Recordings' which is a 2 CD compilation of her first four albums omits Snowbird. (see: http://www.amazon.com/Societys-Child-Recordings-Janis-Ian/dp/B000001EET/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1321236004&sr=1-1)

However, the (2 albums on 1 CD) 'The Secret Life Of J. Eddy Fink' and 'Who Really Cares' (front and back cover at - http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Eddy-Really-Cares/dp/B002P3BAW2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321235609&sr=8-1) includes 'Snowbird'


I have downloaded this album from three separate sources and each download omits 'Snowbird'.

Starsailor is correct in stating that "And I Did Ma" is from "From All the Seasons of Your Mind".

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Tony. Thanks for info.