Monthly Archives: February 2015

Leslie Gore – Forgotten Power

In the early 1960s, Lesley Gore released a song called, You Don’t Own Me. This song is hard to listen to often because even the title is just painful to think about.

It’s painful to think that this song, with this song had a place in society. It’s painful to think that more than 50 years later it still rings true int today’s society. She nails this plaintive plea (mp3 here, but not a straight link) that really gets across that people then and now really do live this life and struggle to push through the cocoon. It also becomes a confident voice where you can tell the voice in the song will eventually find the strength to turn her back and walk away.

In fact, if you look at the list of songs on that mp3 link above, you see a complex approach to society and relationships: Bobby’s GirlI Will Follow Him …. My Boyfriend’s BackThen He Kissed MeTo Know Him is To Love Him. And then in 2005 she announced she was gay. So, there’s that.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to? Yeah, even that one had a counter-intuitive spin. Turns out though that’s the song she’s most famous for, it’s really one of her weakest songs, sung when she was 16. She came to embrace You Don’t Own Me more, as a personal mantra, though she also said she envisioned a guy singing it to his girl as easily as the other way around. She died yesterday, February 16th, aged 68.

You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys
You don’t own me, don’t say I can’t go with other boys
And don’t tell me what to do
And don’t tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don’t put me on display, ’cause
You don’t own me, don’t try to change me in any way
You don’t own me, don’t tie me down ’cause I’d never stay
Oh, I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please

A-a-a-nd don’t tell me what to do
Oh-h-h-h don’t tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don’t put me on display
I don’t tell you what to say
Oh-h-h-h don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To life my life the way I want

She wasn’t a success overnight, it took a week.