Monday, January 21, 2019

A Music Lifetime – From 17 to 27

     The age of 27 became recognized as a dangerous one for Rock stars after Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison passed during the first two years of the 1970s. It’s less recognized that 17 is the most significant age from a lyrical perspective. Sure, it’s easy to identify songs about other ages, but none has the importance of 17 in lyrics and song titles.

     While there were numerous 17-specific songs in 2018, the most commercially successful one was “Hunger” by Florence + The Machine, which starts, “At 17, I started to starve myself.” 

 Others from 2018:
  "Seventeen" by Welles (embedded at the bottom of this post)
  “17” by String Theory
  “Seventeen” by Haley Blais
  “Seventeen” by No Rome 
  “17” by Big Society
  “Seventeen” by Tomberlin
  “Seventeen” (feat. Nevve) by Justice Skolik
  “Seventeen” by awaymsg
  “Seventeen” by Peach Pit
  "17" by Bekon
  “Unclean Seventeen” by Oliver Manning 
  “Seventeen” by Snow Coats 
  “Seventeen” by Folly and the Hunter
  “17” by The Greeting Committee
  “Seventeen” by No Rome
  “17 Again” by Adrian Eagle  
  “17” by Cool American

     This year, the early qualifier is Sharon Van Etten’s song of advice to her 17-year-old self. 

      The lyrical preference for 17 years olds dates back at least as far as the eras of Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. Frank Sinatra’s walk through life in the Grammy winner “It Was a Very Good Year” begins “When I was 17.” The lead song on the Beatles’ debut album starts, “Well, she was just 17” (“I Saw Her Standing There”). Also in the 1960s, Diana Ross and The Supremes boasted about having an older boyfriend – “He’s Seventeen” and Mel Tormé sang of the beauty and magic of being age 17 in his song with that title.

     In the 1970s, two songs we admire centered around the age. Janis Ian’s song “At Seventeen” was revealing and confessional, as she spoke of the awkwardness and unfairness of the age. Then, in his operatic description of being pressured into marriage, Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” talked about being “barely 17 and barely dressed.” Other noteworthy 17-specific songs of the 1970s included:
  “Let’s Go!” by The Cars (“And she won't give up 'cause she's seventeen")
  ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” was 17
  "Seventeen" by Foreigner
  "Between Seventeen and Twenty" by Elton John
  “She Is Always Seventeen” by Harry Chapin
  "Seventeen" by The Sex Pistols

In the 1980s:
  "The Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks
  “17” by Rick James (1984)
  “Seventeen” by Bobby Brown (1987)
  “Seventeen” by Bill Wyman (1982)
  “17” by Jethro Tull (1988)
  "(She's) Sexy + 17" by Stray Cats
  "Seventeeen" by Winger
  "7 Teen" by The Regents

In the 1990s:
  "17 Again" by The Eurythmics
  "Seventeen" by Jimmy Eat World
  “I’m Seventeen” by Tommy Conwell, The Young Rumblers

Others, most since 2000:
  "Damn You Seventeen” by Lady Antebellum (2014)
  “Seventeen” by The Tallest Man on Earth
  "17" by Avril Lavigne (2015)
  “17” Youth Lagoon (2011)
  Kings of Leon released a track about being only “17” (2008)

  “Seventeen” by Alessia Cara
  “17” by Macedo (2014)
  “Anthems For A Seventeen-Year Old Girl” by Broken Social Scene (2013)
  “Seventeen” by Tors (2017)
  “Seventeen (Say The Words)” by Dr. Doctor (2017)
  “Seventeen” by Jarle Skavhellen (2017)
  “Seventeen” by King Cardinal (2017)
  “Seventeen” by Orchidales (2017)
  “Seventeen” by ACADEMY
  “Seventeen” by Bananarama (2009)
  “Seventeen” by Keren Ann (2008)
  “Seventeen” by The Bongo Club (2017)
   “Seventeen” by Sjowgren

   “Seventeen” by Color Palette
  “Seventeen” by 3D Friends
  “Seventeen” by Phatrabbit
  “Seventeen” by Chad Valley
  “Seventeen” by The Fontaine Sisters (1955)
  “Seventeen Ain't Young” by The Archies (1968)
  “Just Seventeen” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (1970)
  “Sweet 17” by the Babies (1980)
  “Seventeen” by TKO (1986)
  “Seventeen” by Virgin Steele (1988)
  “17” by Kingdom Come (1988)
  “Seventeen” by Ice Cream (2016)
  “Seventeen” by A Giant Dog (2016)
  “Seventeen” by Color Palette
  "Seventeen in Roselore" by Small Houses
  “Seventeen” by Lake Street Dive
  “Seventeen” by Stone Cold Fox (2013)
  “Seventeen” by Color Palette
  “Seventeen” by Dead Ceremony
  “17” by Cross Canadian Ragweed
  “Seventeen” by Say We Can Fly
  “Seventeen” by Cody Crump (LA singer/songwriter)
  “Seventeen” by The Lapelles (Late 2015)
  “Seventeen” by Wolvereen (2016)

  “Seventeen” by Dead Ceremony
  "Seventeen" by JET (2009)
  “Seventeen” by Silverbird
  "Seventeen" by RAC
  “Seventeen” by X-Marks the Pedwalk (2010)
  “Seventeen” by Hey Rosetta (2011)
  “Lost at 17” by Emily’s Army (2013)
  "Seventeen" by Ladytron
  “Seventeen” by Mat Kearney
  “Seventeen” by Tim McGraw
  “Seventeen Forever” by Metro Station
  "Seventeen" by Marina and the Diamonds
  "The 17-Year Cicada" by Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
  "17" by Smashing Pumpkins (1998, but the reference is to 17 seconds)
  "17 Girls in a Row" by Steel Panther
  "Seventeen Ain't So Sweet" by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
  "Seventeen Poles" by Supersuckers
  "One Seventeen" by Transplants
  "Né en 17 à Leidenstadt" by Fredericks Goldman Jones
  "Seventeen" by Charlie Puth
  “Seventeen” by Kevin Abstract (2014)

In the lyrics:
  “Cigarette Daydreams” by Cage The Elephant (“You were only seventeen”)
  “Girls” by The 1975 (“Bite your face to spite your nose, 17 and a half years old”)
  “The River” by Bruce Springsteen (“Me and Mary we met in high school when she was just 17”)
  “Cecilia And The Satellite” by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness ("I crashed my car, I was 17”)
  “Carmen” by Lana Del Rey (“Only 17, but she walks the streets so mean”)
  “I Love Rock 'n' Roll” by Joan Jett (“I knew he must have been about 17”)
  “Furr” by Blitzen Trapper ("When I was only 17 I could hear the angels whispering")
  “Giving Up the Gun” by Vampire Weekend (“When I was 17, I had wrists like steel”)
  “Coming Clean” by Green Day (“Seventeen and strung out on confusion”)
  “Trash” by Roxy Music (“Heavy metal trick or treat? Only seventeen”)
  “The Rock Show” by Blink-182 (“Seventeen without a purpose or direction”)
  “Jennifer” by Styx (“She's seventeen, barely old enough to cry”)
  ”Honey Child” by Bad Company (“Well, the first time that I met you, You were only 17”)
  “Animal” by Ellie Goulding (“We are seventeen, we have just begun”)

      “Seventeen” by Welles


1 comment:

  1. Excellent research.
    It's the age I most identify with too. Something about it clearly.
    Love the Janis version.