Monday

19. Jesse (Janis Ian)

The song Jesse by Janis Ian (image credit) is probably better known in the Roberta Flack version, which was a minor hit in the USA in 1973. This fragile understated ballad is Janis Ian's masterpiece in my opinion. She recorded her own version a year after Roberta, for the Stars album. The lyrics keep you wondering about what is really happening. Has her husband left her? Is he dead? We do not find out, but you get the impression that his absence is slowly driving her mad. The delicate instrumentation is the icing on the cake - those singing saws like sounds really get under your spine.

Other songs by this act that would have qualified: At seventeen, Stars.

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