Thursday, October 04, 2007

An Early Clue to the New Direction

The artist: Janis Ian. The venue: The Smothers Brothers Show. The kvetching: "Society's Child."

This was actually a pretty daring record in its day, and musically and lyrically it's remarkably sophisticated given the youth of its composer. Superbly produced, too, by the legendary Shadow Morton (hard to believe that the same guy who recorded something as earnest as this also midwived the Bad Girl epics of the Shangri-Las or a trash wallow like the New York Dolls Too Much Too Soon).

I just love the little instrumental flourish at the end -- what Leonard Bernstein, listening to the song on his 1966 CBS special "Inside Pop," referred to as "that arrogant organ."

Janis, of course, went on to bigger things in the 70s with "At Seventeen," an even more depressing song about an adolescence fatally scarred by kewl kids prejudice and facial blemishes.

In any case, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded the first reader who divines the clip's relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.


Cleveland Bob said...


I've got two guesses.

What is, who/what is your first rock memory from primetime teevee?


Who are the artists that most resemble early Natalie Merchant?

steve simels said...

Cleveland Bob:

Good ones, but no.

Anonymous said...

My guesses:
Most over-wrought teenage angst song


Best lesbian rockers

Cleveland Bob said...

It is Smothers Brothers centric?

I met Dick one time. Nice guy. His son worked for me when I was at Symantec.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad she's remembered for just those two mopey songs. She's actually quite good, a real player.

Anonymous said...

Let's see...teens, first songs, later success, recording industry, new direction

I'm going to go with a list about songs that were banned from radio for being too hot to handle.

steve simels said...

RacyMind said...

I'm going to go with a list about songs that were banned from radio for being too hot to handle.

That's a brilliant idea, and I'm gonna steal it down the road.

But no....

The Kenosha Kid said...

Songs about interracial dating.

What do I win?

Anonymous said...

Pop songs by lesbian singer/songwriters!


PhilDutra said...

"forbidden love" songs?

steve simels said...

Nobody's really close yet.


Okay, it's definitely about the song genre, not the artist. If I get anymore specific you'll get it in a heartbeat.

Cleveland Bob said...

Is it Teen angst unrequited love goo songs?

How about; What is the most treacly song ever?

Anonymous said...

songs with Farfisa fills? (I love the little riff at the end...real ? & the Mysterions stuff...)

steve simels said...

No, it's an actual identifiable genre of song. Think politics.