Music‎ > ‎Repertoire‎ > ‎A‎ > ‎

At Seventeen

Vocal and Instrumental Versions

Janis Ian's 'At Seventeen' has been covered by other artists.

Click the panel to the left for samples of vocal and instrumental versions.

Click the panel to the right for backing track versions.

Scroll down for videos, chords and lyrics.

Backing Track Versions

At Seventeen - Janis Ian
Verse 1:

I learned the truth at seventeen,
That love was meant for beauty queens.
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles,
Who married young and then retired.

The Valentines I never knew,
The Friday nights charades of youth.
Were spent on one more beautiful;
At seventeen, I learned the truth.

Chorus 1:

    Eb                             Dm              G7
And those of us with ravaged faces, lacking in the social graces,
Cm7             Fm7            Cm7               Fm7
 Desperately re-mained at home, inventing lovers on the phone.
    Ab                    G7
Who called and say; "come dance with me",
    Cm7               F7
And murmured vague ob-scenities.
Dm7                        G7
 It isn't all it seems, at seventeen.

Verse 2:

A brown eyed girl in hand-me-downs,
Who's name I never could pronounce,
Said; "pity please, the ones who serve,
They only get what they deserve.

    C                               Dm
The rich relationed home-town queen, marries into what she needs.
  G7                        C
A guarantee of company, and haven for the elderly".

Chorus 2:

   Eb                            Dm                  G7
Re-member those who win the game, lose the love they sought to gain.
   Cm7           Fm7          Cm7        Fm7
In debentures of quality, and dubious in-tegrity.
      Ab                   G7
Their small town eyes will gape at you;
   Cm7                 Fm7
In dull surprise, when payment due;
Dm7                            G7
 Exceeds accounts received, at seventeen.

Verse 3:

   C                                 Dm
To those of us who know the pain, of valentines that never came.
And those whose name were never called,
When choosing side at basketball.

   C                              Dm
It was long ago and far away, the world was younger than today.
And dreams were all they gave for free,
To ugly duckling girls like me.

Chorus 3:

       Eb                                 Dm7                G7
We all play the game and when we dare, to cheat ourselves at solitaire.
   Cm7            Fm7              Cm7           Fm7
In-venting lovers on the phone, re-penting other lives unknown.

     Ab                  G7
That call and say; "Come dance with me",
    Cm7             Fm7
And murmur vague ob-scenities,
Dm7                        G7         C, Cmaj7
 At ugly girls like me; at seventeen.