The "Better Times" Project

Janis Ian & Friends

Diane Schuur

Better Times Will Come by Janis Ian performed by Diane Schuur
  1. Better Times Will Come Diane Schuur 2:10


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Watch the video.

Play this on the jukebox and listen to a lot of other versions too.
You can also download all the different musical versions, in the order they went up.

Check Diane’s website, Facebook page and YouTube channel for more info.

From Janis: Diane Schuur (“Deedles” to friends) is just a great jazz singer. I’ve known her slightly since she recorded “Hearts Take Time” around 1987, but it’s a little intimidating to call someone you haven’t spoken with in a while. Particularly someone with a 3 octave range who has just come off yet another Grammy (this time for a live album with the Count Basie Orchestra). So, heart in hand, I called, and said “Hullo, Deeds, Janis Ian here. I have this project…” and before I could finish the sentence, she said “I’m in! What do I need to do?!”

That’s class. 

She recorded it under lockdown, and when I heard her take I thought “This really needs a video” so I enlisted Erdem Koca, who edited together photos of times and people Diane loved to make this charming piece. Closing with pictures of Nancy Wilson and Dinah Washington (two major influences), and then finally, “Miss Puss Puss”, Deedles’ beloved cat, it’s a lovely walk through her life. I’m so grateful for this interpretation! It’s raw, honest, and annoyingly on pitch, even before she begins to play piano and scat to it. 

Secret back story: In 1986 I was sitting at a piano in the Chateau Marmont with Kye Fleming, fooling with a couple of new chords Artie Butler had just taught me, and a melody that might work with them. Kye said “I always wanted to write a song called ‘Hearts Take Time'”, and then sang ‘You got your basic moon in the sky’. I sang back ‘You got your basic blues in the tenement light’ and we were off and running. When we finished, I said ‘WOW. I love this!’ but Kye said ‘Yeah, too bad no one will ever cut it – no one’s cutting jazz.’ I got annoyed and reminded her that she specifically wanted to get back to writing for the fun of it, not for the cuts. Besides, I thought the song was really, really good. And I loved those piano chords.

Cut to a few months later, and Brenda Andrews of Almo Publishing called to say that Diane Schuur wanted to record our song, would that be okay? Duh… You can listen to the final product here, and keep in mind – we don’t sing or write to make money. We create because it makes our hearts feel good!

Thank you, Diane. You make my heart glad.

(Janis Ian)

Better times, better times will come.
Better times, better times will come.
When this world learns to live as one,
oh, better times will come

When we greet each dawn without fear
knowing loved ones soon will be near
When the winds of war
cannot blow any more
Oh, better times will come


Though we live each day as our last
we know someday soon it will pass
We will dance, we will sing
in that never-ending spring
Oh, better times will come