Monday, October 10, 2016

Music Monday - You Don't Own Me

The best commercials tell a story.  And, the very best use good music.

I am so amused by a Toyota commercial currently playing in the United States.  It attempts to sell us a car by showing us people who are "not owned" by anyone, because they can do what they want, and they sing "you can't tell me what to do...."

Instead, they are racing on bicycles, competing in roller derby, camping, going to clubs, dancing near a bridge and participating in an increasingly popular performance art called cosplay.

Using, of course, the car the sponsor wants you to buy.  Buy this car, so you can be free, the song implies.

It is a catchy song they use, and I want to introduce you to the original version.  This isn't a song about buying cars but, rather, is an anthem for women.

"You Don't Own Me" was first recorded in 1963 by singer Leslie Gore, when she was 17 years ago.  It became her second hit.  Her real name was Leslie Sue Goldstein and she was from Brooklyn. 

She was a junior in high school, with no professional singing experience when she had her first hit "It's My Party"

But, she would outdo herself with her second hit.  Sadly, this great talent passed away last year.

These lyrics are so empowering, especially for 1963. I invite you to read them. 

 "I'm free to live my life the way I want", the woman in the song sings to a boyfriend who is trying to control her.  "I don't tell you what to say", she sings to him.  "So just let me be myself..."

It's a lesson we can all use today, when so many women are still held down, held back, by society, their families, and sometimes themselves.

Day 10 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge.


  1. I love this. And now that song is in my head. Which is not bad.

  2. I got to see her in concert many years ago, great talent. They snng the song at the end of "First Wives Club". Great movie. And a good lesson my daughters learned.

  3. I was in love with Leslie for years! And, this was my favorite song for years...
    Thanks for bringing back the original, which only proves (a) Leslie's version runs circles around the imitators (b) Toyota was too cheap to pay Leslie's estate to use that version and just paid John Medora and David White for the lyrics...

  4. Some songs can stick to us so strong isn't it? I wouldn't have thought the original song of the commercial was something like this. Indeed, this is something we can all learn from even today.

  5. Thanks for this.. I did not know this singer or the history behind this but I had definitely heard some version of "you dont own me" and "its my party" over the years.

  6. I used to hear my older cousins sing Lesley Gore songs. She had a beautiful voice and I have the best memories of feeling grown up when they let me hang with them !


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