It is easily one of the saddest, most tragic, most heartwrenching songs I’ve ever heard.

Most hit pop songs sing about love or romance in some manner.  Janis Ian took a different tack, though.  She sung about the pain of being an ugly duckling who longed to be loved.  I’m talking about her 1974 hit, “At Seventeen.” You may remember how it starts:

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…

It goes on to say,

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…

Tragic.  Tragic and beautiful.

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