Janis Ian Was More Than Just A Teenager

Morning Edition ‘s series called One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer. In this installment, NPR Music’s Ann Powers argues that Janis Ian, who won the Grammy for best pop vocal performance in 1975 for “At Seventeen,” pioneered what we now consider the adult contemporary genre. Read Ann in her own words below, and hear the radio version at the audio link. Janis Ian has had one of the most fascinating career trajectories in pop music. She was a child prodigy in the ’60s and she was known for provocative protest songs, including “Society’s Child,” which was the story of an interracial relationship — which did chart. But then she dropped out of the music business for a few years and came back with a totally different sound. “At Seventeen” is such a powerful and honest confrontation with the feelings of inadequacy that so many girls and