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Light a Light - Janis Ian

In 1975, Janis made a double return to the US charts with the single "At Seventeen" reaching number 3 and the LP "Between the Lines" topping the album charts. This was a welcome return as Ian had made little impression on the top twenties since "Society's Child" in 1967, and was being labelled by all and sundry as a one hit wonder.

According to Ian in an interview in 2015, when she was backstage while appearing on a tv show in '67 at the age of 16, she felt tired while waiting to perform and had a short sleep with her head resting on her chaperone's lap, the chaperone being an older woman and a fried of her parents. Comedian Bill Cosby, also backstage, saw this innocent scene and spread it around that Ian was a lesbian and therefore shouldn't be on television. In Ian's opinion, this made it difficult for her to get tv exposure, which had an adverse effect on her career for many years.

At the time Ian had only ever been kissed once - and by a boy - in summer camp! Ian was married in 1978 and divorced in 1983, marrying again in 2003, this time to a woman, long time partner Patricia Snyder.

It's ironic that comedian and black rights campaigner Crosby, should have been so keen to besmirch the reputation of a blameless young woman who had spoken out against racial prejudice in her first, superb recording (see two posts ago). Ironic too, that Cosby is at the time of writing Crosby is doing time for aggravated indecent assault of a young woman, as well as having had over 60 other similar allegations made against him dating from the nineteen sixties onwards.

In this gem of a track from the album, a record crammed as full of gems as a treasure chest, Ian's harmony vocals are exquisitely treble tracked to give emotional depth. The words are achingly prescient too:

"There's a wisdom in the teachings of the old familiar songs, and a sorrow in repeating all the old familiar wrongs, and a lesson to be learned, though I've known all along, lover, am I coming home again......

Light a light, light a light for me - bring me back home again, bring me back home again."

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