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Janis Ian's Controversial 'Society's Child'

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Janis Ian's Controversial 'Society's Child'

Janis Ian's Controversial 'Society's Child'

Janis Ian's Controversial 'Society's Child'

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Hear Songs Recorded In-Studio At NPR West

'Society's Child'

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'At Seventeen'

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Janis Ian's song, "Society's Child," made her a star at 15. A year later, that same pop song about interracial romance won her a Grammy nomination, but it also resulted in death threats.

Ian says the impact of "Society's Child" has remained with her; it's also the title of her recently released autobiography. Ian shares her story with Tony Cox.

Janis Ian: Behind Her Songs And Life

Janis Ian In Studio On Folk Alley

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Watch the Session

'Married in London'

'My Autobiography'

'At Seventeen'

Don't try to pick up Janis Ian's new autobiography unless you've got some time. Her stories are gripping and sometimes shocking, including the time her drunken ex-husband held a gun to her head all night after striking her.

In the interview, I wasn't quite sure how to bring up such a harsh history. But when Ian arrived she was so relaxed that I felt comfortable asking her about the stories in Society's Child: My Autobiography. After hearing this conversation I think you'll feel that you met Janis Ian, too, and you may feel more comfortable talking about your secrets.

More About Janis Ian

Nominated for a Grammy by the time she was 16, singer-songwriter Janis Ian also earned a permanent place in the American musical and cultural consciousness with "At Seventeen," the quintessential song for the awkward teenage years. Still writing exciting music 40 years later, she has captured her amazing journey in a new book, Society's Child: My Autobiography. Each chapter is named after a different song, all of which are in turn brought together on Best of Janis Ian: The Autobiography Collection, a two-CD set of her remastered hits.

Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.

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