A youtube commenter asks, "You mean to tell me that in the sixties, teenage girls actually had to have voices and know how to sing before they had hit records?"
What a concept. Discovered singing in a hotel by the legendary producer Quincy Jones, then a producer for Mercury Records, soprano Lesley Gore had a supremely confident voice that had been honed singing in a jazz group. That voice was first shared with the world in the form of teenage girl standards It's My Party and It's Judy's Turn to Cry, which did absolutely nothing for me. Then came You Don't Own Me.
To this day, the song remains an anthem for independently-minded females everywhere. The other day I mentioned that Linda Ronstadt's Different Drum was an early feminist hit, but I'd forgotten that You Don't Own Me, performed by Gore when she was still a senior in high school, pre-dates that by several years. It was way ahead of its time, actually. (Still performing, Gore has reimagined the song with a stripped-down version on her latest release, Ever Since.)
Written by two men, John Madars and David White, the song was climbing the charts and landed at #2 the week I Want to Hold Your Hand grabbed the #1 spot and didn't let go for three weeks. I can still remember how the dramatically shifting key changes on the arrangement combined with Gore's convincing delivery affected me. I was sure I didn't want anyone to own me! Yes, I was 11, but it got under my skin.