Janis Ian Cancels Tour: ‘It’s Unlikely I’ll Ever Sound Like Myself Again’

Share This:

Janis Ian today

Janis Ian, whose hits include such poignant anthems as “Society’s Child,” “At Seventeen” and “Stars,” has abruptly canceled the remaining dates of her tour to support her farewell studio album. The singer-songwriter posted the news today (Sept. 14, 2022) on her social media platforms, indicating that the laryngitis that forced her to postpone several earlier concerts “has turned out to be more complicated. There is vocal fold scarring.” She added, “It’s not due to polyps or singing incorrectly. The doctors can only speculate as to why, but treatments are very limited. And it would be many months before we’d know the outcome of any treatment.”

Her post concluded on an ominous note for any performer: “It is most unlikely that I’ll ever sound like myself again.

“I consider myself lucky that this is not life-threatening, though the loss in my own small world is staggering.”

Ian announced the tour and farewell studio album, The Light at the End of the Line, in November 2021. The album, released on Jan. 21, 2022, via her own Rude Girl Records, bookends “a kaleidoscopic catalog that began with her 1967 self-titled debut,” according to the original announcement. The tour began in March.

As her first album of new material in 15 years, The Light at the End of the Line set the stage for what Ian imagined was her final North American tour.

Janis Ian, on the cover of her 1975 album

In the 2021 press release, Ian, born April 7, 1951, says, “I’ve already created a body of work I’m proud of, and I’m old enough to realize that it’s the light at the end of the line that matters. And I’m not calling this retiring. It’s rewiring.”

“I’m Still Standing” was the first single from The Light at the End of the Line. The song serves as an intimate portrait of getting older and wiser, striking a triumphant tone:

See these lines on my face?
They’re a map of where I’ve been
And the deeper they are traced,
the deeper life has settled in
How do we survive living out our lives?

Watch Ian perform the song in May 2022

The Light at the End of the Line, continued the album announcement, “is a victory lap for an artist who has nothing to lose, and nothing left to prove. If the album ends up being Ian’s swan song, it’s as graceful an exit as fans could want.”

“I love this album,” Ian says. “There is an element of, ‘This is the absolute best I can do over the span of 58 years as a writer. This is what I’ve learned. The idea of not being held hostage by your legacy lets you move forward. You don’t have to be held hostage to those memories. You have to acknowledge them, but you don’t have to stay there. And I never have.”

An extended break was built into her tour schedule this summer with dates to resume on Sept. 28. On May 26, she postponed several concerts while noting, “There is no way my laryngitis will clear up in time, and I can’t run the risk of a potentially devastating injury to my vocal cords. I haven’t dealt with laryngitis like this since my teens… I suppose the odds were running against me.”

Ian earned a Top 15 in 1967 with the single, “Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking),” which she wrote in her early teenage years about an interracial romance.

Eight years later, she earned her biggest success with “At Seventeen.” The song reached #3 on the Hot 100 and earned her Grammy Award nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. (She would win for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.) Its album, Between the Lines, ultimately topped the U.S. sales chart.

Watch Ian sing “At Seventeen” live in 1976

Despite that acclaim, Ian never had another hit single, though many other performers recorded her songs.

This photo of Janis Ian with the top execs at CBS Records appeared in the Aug. 28, 1976 issue of Record World

Best Classic Bands Staff

2 Comments so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. JCB
    #1 JCB 8 April, 2022, 08:09

    Seen her twice live. She brings it. A great talent, and a gifted songwriter.

    Reply this comment
  2. Steve Scott
    #2 Steve Scott 17 September, 2022, 01:35

    Always loved this song, the purity and honest of Janis’ vocal never ceases to amaze. Also her guitar picking absolutely encourages her lyrical delivery….Oh so sad she may never sound the same again.

    Reply this comment

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.