Saturday Night Live Transcripts


  Season 1: Episode 1




75a: George Carlin / Billy Preston, Janis Ian

Janis Ian performs "At Seventeen"

from the album: Between the Lines (1975)

.....George Carlin
.....Janis Ian

George Carlin: We would like to introduce to you - Janis Ian.

[ Carlin disappears from the stage as Janis Ian, standing onstage within arm's reach of the audience, begins to play ]

Janis Ian:
"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 night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen, I learned the truth.

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say, "Come dance with me."
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems, at seventeen.

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

And the rich-relationed home town queen
Marries into what she need
With a guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly.

Remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
In debentures of quality
And dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise, when payment due
Exceeds accounts received, at seventeen.

To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball.

It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
When dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me.

We all play the game, and when we dare
To cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting others lives unknown
That call and say, "Come on, dance with me."
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, at seventeen."


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