Audie Award, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2013
Grammy Award Winner, Best Spoken Word Album, 2013
Booklist Top 10 Biography Audiobooks
Janis Ian was catapulted into the spotlight in 1966 at the age of 15, when her soul-wrenching song "Society's Child" became a hit. An intimate portrait of an interracial relationship, "Society's Child" climbed the charts despite the fact that many radio stations across the country refused to play it because of its controversial subject matter. But this was only the beginning of a long and illustrious career.
In this fascinating memoir of her more than 40 years in the music business, Ian chronicles how she did drugs with Jimi Hendrix, went shopping for Grammy clothes with Janis Joplin, and sang with Mel Tormé, all the while never ceasing to create unforgettable music.
In 1975, Ian's legendary "At Seventeen" earned two Grammy awards and five nominations. Her next two albums brought her worldwide platinum hits. But after seven albums in as many years, she made a conscious decision to walk away from the often grueling music business. During this period, she struggled through a difficult marriage, which ended with her then husband's attempt to destroy her, and a sudden illness that very nearly cost her her life. The hiatus from music lasted for close to a decade until, in 1993, Ian returned with the release of the Grammy-nominated Breaking Silence. Now, as she moves gracefully into her fifth decade as a recording artist and writer, Ian continues to draw large audiences around the globe.
In Society's Child, Janis Ian provides a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures - and the hopes and dreams - of an extraordinary life.
©2008 Janis Ian (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"Each chapter in this mesmerizing memoir begins with an evocative lyric read and sung by Ian, who transports listeners back in time with both words and music." (Booklist)
I really didn't know much about Janis Ian or her music. I was familiar with a couple of her hits. I listened to this mainly because it got rave reviews from other listeners. This isn't the typical book I listen to on a regular basis. I am more the business book and self-help type but decided I wanted a break. Her story was extremely fascinating and provided a wonderful glimpse into what it is like to make it and not make it in the music world.
She tells her story, and its a life with wild ups and downs, in such an open and honest way. She is a fantastic story teller/narrator, which makes sense as she is a singer songwriter. This has been one of my favorite audiobooks. Love the fact that in the audiobook you get to hear her music all along the way.
Listening to Janis Ian narrate her autobiography punctuated with her singing her songsfelt like sitting in her living room while she told the story. As she sang, I was transported back to my own youth. If you are a fan, this is a absolute must book to listen to. If you are not yet a fan, listen to this book and you'll become one.
Sure, I'd love to hear your story....
Like a lot of people, I was a bit surprised to learn this had beaten out some really famous and important works - - but after an hour, I know why. This story is like having the world's best coffee and donuts with your absolute best friend who is finally letting you in on all the secrets of her life. She's an amazing writer - - no kidding, just listen to her music. But just like that music, this is deeply personal, stunningly honest, painful and uplifting. Hearing this one, with Janis singing pieces of the story, allows you to be not a just a witness to her life, but a participant. Love this one.
The minute I saw that Janis Ian had an autobiography out I bought it! Then I saw that she was also performing it, and that made me even more excited to start it. I've been a fan of hers for decades, even meeting her briefly after a concert at the Univ. of Arizona in 1977 or so. I've been learning a lot about her life before becoming famous with "Society's Child" and "At Seventeen", and she even sings snippets of her songs in this great audiobook.
With the world of digital downloads, I've been able to buy some of her older releases and found out that she is coming to town in March!
THIS is the way a great autobiography should be done--read and performed by the author.
Thanks, Janis, and Audible!
I loved her music as a teenager and love her music now. I was tickled to find this book here, and not even a bit disappointed. Loved every minute of it, and no one else could read it and do it justice. Brava!
I liked the personal touches in this autobiography, especially the guitar playing and the singing. It was very entertaining.
How can you possibly beat a well-read autobiography about a musician when that artist performs the songs as she tells the story. Well-read, naturally beautifully performed.
When she described how she came up with her hit "At Seventeen."
I am a miracle worker. Doing what I can to choose love over fear.
Yes: For one credit you get these pearks:
- A liberal history lesson
- Raw gig experience deliverd without polished crap
- Backstage inside
- Gay and female rights
- Drug stories
And you get to hang with Janis Joplin! This is not a book: It is an experience. If you have not heard about Janis Ian you will enjoy it if you like the 60's and 70's music scene. Ian's sexual oriontation does not take up too much space. You get the story bout the man wo attacted her. She is not advating gay rights: To her we who are hetrosexuals are the same. She does an amazing job when it comes to seeing PEOPLE rather than labels. It is worthy every award. This book I mean experience is perfect for a weekend night when you sta home but rather wish you had the bucks for a gig and yes: You will come back to this. T is a feel-good book unlike any other. When you are done you might wan to hear the music. On her website free tracks awaits.
The fact that she is honest
Well. It is not possible to read a show.
When she was being drugged by a stranger in N.Y.
This is not my favorite book it is my favorite audio experience. Hopefylly this will be included in "How should I use my first credit?" Section.
This is one of the most engaging nonfiction books I've read. Janis tells the story of her life, her music and the music industry. Nicely written, beautifully read. One aspect that really set this one apart for me was the natural way that Janis sings and plays the guitar at the beginning of every chapter and throughout the book. It has the feel of sitting in your living room and having Janis tell you her life story. Amazing!
I've been a fan of Janis Ian's music since 1967. However, I knew precious little about her personal life. Janis lays out key events in her life, good and bad, without whining about the bad or over indulging in her success. Hers is a life lived out loud without regrets. In the end, it is a story about her music (which clearly is in her DNA) the power of the human spirit and the power of music.
Book opens with Janis telling the story of performing Society's Child in front of an audience with the small number of racial bigots heckling the 15-year-old star.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
The best thing about this memoir is that we get to hear it in Janis's own voice exactly as she intended it to be heard. She even occasionally punctuates it by singing snippets of her songs. There doesn't seem to be much that she's not willing to share with her readers/listeners. I give her credit for that, especially for someone with so many trust issues. There was probably more than I wanted or needed to know about her sex life. I was more interested in hearing about her songs and the album creation process. It turns out, that's actually a small part of a singer's life. It's mostly about the unending amount of time spent touring, and about her personal life. It was both interesting and disappointing to discover that her life has actually been rather ordinary, apart from being famous and having a couple fairly bizarre episodes. Occasionally, I wished there were more dates thrown in to keep the story anchored. Occasionally, I wish people had been better identified; I have trouble keeping track of people who are only explained once many pages earlier if at all. I could never tell if her accounts of events were meant to convey how she felt at the time, or if she still feels that way now. She recounts a number of mistakes that she made in her life and career, but the way she tells it leaves it unclear if she appreciates her share of the responsibility for them. Lest anyone think I am unsympathetic to her trials and tribulations, let me hasten to reassure them that I would not have bought this book if I hadn't been a fan of Janis's work. Whether anyone who is not a fan would appreciate this book is hard to say, but she writes well and reflects the times in which she lived in a way that helps remind all of us what it was like.
"The life and times of some of my favourite songs"
When I was 17 years old a girl friend gave me the album At Seventeen the song is a girls point of view of the world it changed my male perspective of the world and has been with me from LP to tape, CD and MP3 accompanying me through my life like so much music; but of the girl that wrote those songs I knew nothing, so when I heard that she had written her biography I decided I had to listen to it.
Well it was great, sad, interesting, and entertaining. (I invited my wife to hear the story with me and she loved it though she is not as interested in her music as I am).
One of the things I love is that she introduces some of the chapters by singing the song or song she was working on in that period. It is a very personal and candid story that meanders like all our lives through highs and lows and the particular idiosyncrasies of her times.
I loved the young girl that sang to me. I respect the woman she became.
"The Story That Becomes Your Own"
It's an exhilarating, depressing, exciting, inspiring story of a woman gifted with a wonderful song-writing talent. Reading the book would have been a pleasure, of that I am sure. Now imagine for a second the woman herself telling her story to you. Over dinner, while commuting, in the park. Singing her best songs to you, playing her father's Martin guitar. That's Janis Ian reading her autobiography. If you want an audiobook that will get stuck in your heart for the rest of your life, this is it.
"An astonishing insight into the music industry."
Astonishing, amazing, I loved this book. I've been a fan of Janis Ian since first hearing 'At Seventeen' and listening to this book (narrated by Janis herself) reminded me how much I love her voice. Each chapter is preceded by a short burst of Janis singing - one advantage this book has over the written word. This audio book also won a Grammy award (beating Michelle Obama) - I didn't even know there was such a category. As soon as I finished it I went straight to i-tunes and listened to Night Rains - one of my favourite albums. There are some great videos of Janis on her website. I regret that I've never seen her live. Hopefully she will make it back to the UK before too long.
"What a life"
Janis has quite an amazing story. I rarely read or listen to biography but I'm glad that I listened to this. As well as her life she spoke about much of her music with snippets from a fair selection of her songs. I have to give this 5 stars.
"Boy but it's tough to tell it like it is ain't it"
This is a good story or it would be if Janis didn't insist on giving us a guitar solo at the beginning of every single chapter of the book. It's embarrassing just listening to it. Her voice isn't what it used to be and she really should just read the story and not try to sing. That apart the story is quite good. Imagine if you were fifteen and being called a 'nigger lover' just because you had an opinion that differed from that of others and then imagine that happening onstage. Not funny and she didn't find it amusing either. Janis ian has had s tough old life but she's a good reader and even does the odd short story from time to time. I'd recommend reading it but beware of the guitar solos they really are cringe material.
loved it great story fascinated by all the ups and downs of her life til now
Searingly honest, beautiful, at times heartbreaking account of a true star. What incredible songs Janis has written, so pleased to have discovered this gem. Thank you Janis
"Who knew what an amazing life Janis has had?"
The musical intros to each chapter and the fact that janis did her own narration. I didn't know of janis' career before "at 17" so her earlier work and in particular the controversy surrounding society's child was really interesting.
I can't think of another autobiography that compares to this.
I mostly found the book poignant. I laughed and cried a little but it was the story that kept me rapt. Her candidness about child sexual abuse was expressed matter of fact-ly without seeking pity or apportioning blame.
I could not relate to her having relationships with men and I would have liked a greater analysis of her to journey to Pat.
"At seventeen...I got the blues"
Poor old Janis, she has had a very interesting life, it certainly wasn't what I was expecting, more of a fascinating that uplifting story.
"Remarkable story and lady."
It's a first rate autobiography. Kept me engrossed.
It's in a class of its own because I've come across no one like Janis Ian. She's a one off!
There are many interesting moments. Her early involvement with Internet auctions to raise funds for a scholarship foundation were fascinating.
There were many. Abuse by her dentist and the death of her mother were particularly emotive.
Janis Ian has an astonishing story to tell and listening to her narrate the audio version of her book made it all the more extraordinary. She recounts the milestones in her eventful life with candour and often humour.
I knew little of her personal story and this book was compelling. Her unconventional upbringing, astounding musical success as a 15 year old, the nature of and the way she dealt with various types of abuse, her personal relationships...the list goes on and this is before considering her creative gifts as a writer, singer and songwriter, her influence on and involvement with the music industry and the way she embraced early Internet opportunities.
The book took me by surprise. It's a very well written ride through the numerous ups and downs of a colourful life. Unlike many half baked so called 'celebrity stories' this lady, now in her early 60's, actually has a meaningful story to tell. I enjoyed it.
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