April 25, 1967: Leonard Bernstein in awe of 15yo Janis Ian's "Society's Child".
Leonard Bernstein's producer saw Janis perform "Society's Child" at The Gaslight and scheduled Ian to perform the song on Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, an April 25, 1967 CBS television special about new pop music. Largely owing to Bernstein's efforts, Verve Records started promoting it in trade magazines and many radio stations picked it up. But some radio stations, such as Chicago's WLS, refused to play the song. Though several radio stations were slow to add the song to their playlists, this behavior extended the record's airplay life. "Society's Child" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.
and Nina Simone.
Amazing. Would make a heckuva a bio flick.
and it peaked at number 5 on their playlist in early July. John Rook took over as PD at WLS in the spring of 1967, but I find it hard to believe that he banned it. He was known for having a great musical ear, but he also resisted pressure from Jesse Jackson to hire an African American jock (which would have required him to fire a jock on the number 1 rated Chicago station).
a 15yo girl. He didnt want her booked on shows he regularly appeared.
The song came out in the middle of I Spys production run. Apparently, his animosity was because he thought she was a lesbian, not because of the racial issues in her (then) only hit song.
Reprehensible, whatever the reason
but, at 15 she was nowhere near displaying ANY sexuality, let alone a preference for other women. He was just being a perverted control freak.
The music, the lyrics, and the performance mesh so perfectly to communicate the angst of the teenaged female.
at a small theater (maybe 115 seats) here in Santa Fe. I paid a premium to be able to meet and chat with her before the performance.
The very first time I heard "At Seventeen" on the radio, I turned up the volume (I recall the specific car ride and who I was with) because I could tell it was something incredibly special.
Yeah, that song speaks to me.
Back in the late 70s, my older sister, who then lived in Los Angeles, had a pretty serious heart attack. Afterwards, she said it was almost worth it, as she wound up in a cardiac rehab group with (I bet you've already guessed) Ella Fitzgerald.
And her album Between the Lines is full of other stunningly brilliant songs, including this one. One of the best ever.
After listening to Janis Ian, I thought of a story/song that was about a spell that reset the organic computer. The song is sung in unison until one word which is two words, one on left side the other on right side. Both words mean the same thing and are sung at the same time. The story is about trying to find the right words... Words that could anchor peace and understanding in the hearts of humanity.