In the ’60s, Janis Ian sent shockwaves through the airwaves with “Society’s Child,” her potent protest song about the way everyone reacts with dropped jawbones when you date a black guy. (That’s certainly how I react! I’m jealous!) And now comes Ian’s memoir of the same name, due any day now, which details the singer-songwriter’s tumultuous yet inspiring—God, I hate this word—journey which involves her dating all SORTS of people. It turns out the woman’s had more dramatic throughlines in her life than a season of Meerkat Manor. As the official description says:
“With her family under surveillance by the FBI during the Cold War era, Ian grew up always looking over her shoulder. She was abused as a pre-teen by her dentist and later by her husband, who tried to kill her more than once. By the age of sixteen, she was a regular performer at the Gaslight (the center of the Greenwich Village folk scene), had played to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall, and had been nominated for a Grammy—all while living with her parents and younger brother in their cramped Upper West Side apartment…
But SOCIETY’S CHILD is about much more than Ian’s musical career. Ian speaks candidly about her life and the many challenges she has faced: the shock of her parents’ divorce; unsuccessful, abusive relationships with both men and women; health crises; financial problems; her nine-year hiatus from the music business to study theatre with Stella Adler; and her Grammy-nominated 1992 musical comeback, Breaking Silence. And she does it all with absolute candor, wit, wisdom and heart.”
This IS shocking! I had no idea Janis Ian had relationships with men!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 18, 2008