You Don't Own Me

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"You Don't Own Me"
Lesley Gore - You Don't Own Me.jpg
Single by Lesley Gore
from the album Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts
B-side"Run Bobby, Run"
ReleasedDecember 1963
Producer(s)Quincy Jones
Lesley Gore singles chronology
"She's a Fool"
"You Don't Own Me"
"That's the Way Boys Are"

"You Don't Own Me" is a popular song written by Philadelphia songwriters John Madara and David White and recorded by Lesley Gore in 1963, when Gore was 17 years old. The song was Gore's second most successful recording and her last top-ten single. On November 27, 2016, along with 24 other songs, the Grammy Hall of Fame announced its induction.[1]

The song expresses emancipation, as the singer tells a lover that he does not own her, that he isn't to tell her what to do or what to say, and that he is not to put her on display. The song's lyrics became an inspiration for younger women and are sometimes cited as a factor in the second wave feminist movement.[2]

Gore said, "My take on the song was: I'm 17, what a wonderful thing, to stand up on a stage and shake your finger at people and sing you don't own me."[3] In Gore's obituary, The New York Times referred to "You Don't Own Me" as "indelibly defiant".[4]

Chart performance[edit]

The song reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The song remained at number two for three consecutive weeks on February 1, 1964, unable to overcome the Beatles' hit, "I Want to Hold Your Hand". It became Gore's second most successful hit after to "It's My Party". The song was Gore's last top-ten single.[5][6]

Chart (1964) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 2

Later comparative criticism[edit]

After the success of "You Don't Own Me", many of Lesley Gore's other songs, including "That's the Way Boys Are", were eventually compared to it and criticized for not coming up to feminist expectations. Of "That's the Way Boys Are", author Richard Aquila noted that the lyrics "voice the era's acceptance of sexual double standards," in contrast with the theme of Gore's previous single, "You Don't Own Me".[8] Aquila regards "That's the Way Boys Are" as one of several examples of Lesley Gore songs that regard women as dependents or passive objects, along with earlier singles "It's My Party" and "Judy's Turn to Cry."[8] Musicologist Walter Everett described "That's the Way Boys Are" as one of the many 1960s sexist songs that "perpetuated a boys will be boys tolerance for male but not female infidelity."[9] Music critic Greil Marcus also remarked on the way "That's the Way Boys Are" backs off from the "proto-feminist manifesto" of "You Don't Own Me" to a message of "he may treat you like garbage, but they're all like that, and we love 'em for it!"[10]

On 14–21 August 1965, Patty Duke peaked at No. 8 on the Hot 100 with "Don't Just Stand There", which sounds very similar to "You Don't Own Me".[11]


Michèle Richard version[edit]

Canadian singer Michèle Richard (fr) recorded a French version of the song, titled as "Je suis libre", in 1964.[12]

Dusty Springfield version[edit]

Dusty Springfield released this song on her 1964 albums A Girl Called Dusty (UK) and Stay Awhile/I Only Want to Be with You (US). The song appeared again on her 1965 album Ooooooweeee!!! (US).

Ormsby Brothers version[edit]

The Ormsby Brothers released the first male version of this song in 1973. The Brothers were from New Zealand, and their version was a peaked at number 5 in Australia in that year.[13]

Klaus Nomi version[edit]

Klaus Nomi version was his first released studio single and was included on his self-titled album released in 1981.

Joan Jett version[edit]

Joan Jett released a cover of the song on her debut album, originally titled Joan Jett, but re-released as Bad Reputation. The first recording of her well-known cover of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was a Europe-only release double A-side with "You Don't Own Me" released in 1979. Joan's version is fairly true to the original; the level of defiant independence remains in the vocals although with Joan's distinct vocal style.

The Blow Monkeys version[edit]

The Blow Monkeys covered the song for the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing. The song is sung in a similar fashion to the original but from a male perspective. The lyrics are unchanged from Gore's version. The song was recorded as an RB song rather than as a straight Pop song.

André Hazes version[edit]

André Hazes (Dutch folk singer) recorded a Dutch-language version of the song in 1981 for his album Gewoon André; "Zeg Maar Niets Meer" was popular in Europe, and reached number 2 in the Dutch charts in early 1982.

Eva Pilarová version[edit]

In 1998, Eva Pilarová sang a Czech version under the name "Cesta končí" on the album Requiem.

The First Wives Club - 1996 film[edit]

The song provides a key moment at the end of The First Wives Club (1996). The three "first wives" -- Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn—break into song and dance, exulting in triumph over their selfish ex-husbands. Keaton had sung in Annie Hall (1977) and Hawn had released an LP in 1972, but neither were known for their voices. This version was commercially released in 1997 on Columbia Records: XPCD842.

Maxine Linehan version[edit]

Irish singer and actress Maxine Linehan's first single was a cover entitled "You Don't Own Me (featuring Phlaymz)" released May 1, 2011 on ℗Honey Bun Records.

Kristin Chenoweth version[edit]

The song appeared in Kristin Chenoweth's album For the Girls, released in 2019. It features Ariana Grande.

Mie Nakao version[edit]

Under the name of 恋と涙の17才 (romanji/english version: Koi to Namida no 17sai (You Don't Own Me)), this japanese version appeared on the Uniqlo teaser "Finally Free" in 2018, by Marco Prestini (Flash Factory)[14]. Mie Nakao's album 可愛いベイビー~中尾ミエ アーリー・ヒッツ[15] was released in 2017, with a series of covers of classical american movies soudtracks.

Grace version[edit]

"You Don't Own Me"
You Don't Own Me (featuring G-Eazy) (Official Single Cover) by Grace.png
Single by Grace featuring G-Eazy
from the album FMA
ReleasedMarch 17, 2015 (2015-03-17)
Grace singles chronology
"You Don't Own Me"
"Dirty Harry"
G-Eazy singles chronology
"Fuck with U"
"You Don't Own Me"
"You Got Me"

The song was covered by Australian singer and songwriter Grace and was released as her debut single. It features American rapper G-Eazy. Grace's version was produced by Quincy Jones, who also produced the original recording by Lesley Gore, and Parker Ighile. It was released on March 17, 2015 one month after Lesley Gore died, and peaked at number one on the ARIA Charts, later being certified 3× Platinum by the ARIA.[16] The song was also a success in New Zealand, peaking at number five for two consecutive weeks, and in the United Kingdom, peaking at number four.

In an interview with House of Fraser, Grace said "[Quincy Jones] told me how the song came out during the feminist movement and how it was such a strong statement. I loved the song, started researching Lesley Gore and fell in love with her as an artist. [You Don't Own Me] really inspired me."[17]

The song was released worldwide on March 17, 2015. It grew to prominence in the UK when it was used in the 2015 House of Fraser Christmas advert.[17] It was also performed by The X Factor contestant Lauren Murray on November 28, 2015 and Matt Terry on October 8, 2016. The increased exposure for the song helped it rise to a peak of number four on the UK Singles Chart. The song was featured in the third trailer for the 2016 film Suicide Squad [18] and appeared on the film's soundtrack album.[19]

The song was featured in the opening of Riverdale's eighth episode in March 2017, as well as the background music for the 2018 Ford Mustang GT commercial, with Helen Hunt and Evan Rachel Wood.

A music video directed by Taylor Cohen was released on June 1, 2015.[20]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]
Chart (2015–2016) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[21] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 55
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[23] 42
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[24] 45
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[25] 52
France (SNEP)[26] 182
Hungary (Single Top 40)[27] 32
Ireland (IRMA)[28] 13
Italy (FIMI)[29] 89
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[30] 5
Portugal (AFP)[31] 62
Scotland (OCC)[32] 3
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[33] 50
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[34] 38
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[35] 19
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[36] 60
UK Singles (OCC)[37] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[38] 57
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[39] 22
Year-end charts[edit]
Chart (2015) Position
Australia (ARIA)[40] 26
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[41] 43
Chart (2016) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[42] 87
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[43] 4× Platinum 280,000double-dagger
Canada (Music Canada)[44] Platinum 80,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[45] Gold 25,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[46] Platinum 15,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[47] 2× Platinum 40,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[48] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[49] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kreps, Daniel (November 26, 2016). "Nirvana, Bowie, R.E.M. Songs Among Grammy Hall of Fame's 2017 Inductees". Rolling Stone. New York City.
  2. ^ Stos, Will (2012). "Bouffants, Beehives, and Breaking Gender Norms: Rethinking 'Girl Group' Music of the 1950s and 1960s". Journal of Popular Music Studies. 24 (2): 117–154. doi:10.1111/j.1533-1598.2012.01322.x.
  3. ^ "Biography - Lesley Gore". Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  4. ^ "Lesley Gore, Teenage Voice of Heartbreak, Dies at 68". The New York Times. February 16, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  5. ^ Richie Unterberger. "You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  6. ^ "You Don't Own Me Song Facts". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  7. ^ "Lesley Gore Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Aquila, R. (2000). That old-time rock & roll: a chronicle of an era, 1954-1963. University of Illinois Pres. pp. 114–116, 234. ISBN 978-0-252-06919-2.
  9. ^ Everett, W. (2008). The foundations of rock: from "Blue suede shoes" to "Suite : Judy blue eyes". Oxford University Press. p. 366. ISBN 978-0-19-531023-8.
  10. ^ Marcus, G. (1999). In the fascist bathroom: punk in pop music, 1977-1992. Harvard University Press. pp. 217–218. ISBN 978-0-674-44577-2.
  11. ^ Sir Rockwell (2016-03-29). "Patty Duke's Billboard Chart History, 'Don't Just Stand There' & Beyond". Rockdabox, 'The Future of Caribbean Radio'. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  12. ^ Michèle Richard - Je suis libre at YouTube
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 226. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ "Marco Prestini (Flash Factory) - Uniqlo - Finally Free". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  15. ^ "JVC Music (JP) - Album - 中尾 ミエ (Mie Nakao) - 可愛いベイビー~中尾ミエ アーリー・ヒッツ". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  16. ^ "iTunes Store (AU) - Music - Grace - You Don't Own Me (feat. G-Eazy) - Single". iTunes Store (AU). 17 March 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Grace - The Voice Behind our Christmas Avert". House of Fraser. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  18. ^ "This is who covers Lesley Gore's You Don't Own Me in the Suicide Squad trailer". Metro. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  19. ^ Kaufman, Gil (June 17, 2016). "'Suicide Squad' Soundtrack: Skrillex & Rick Ross, Panic! at the Disco Cover 'Bohemian Rhapsody' & More". Billboard. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  20. ^ "Grace - You Don't Own Me ft. G-Eazy". YouTube. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  21. ^ " – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  22. ^ " – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  23. ^ " – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  24. ^ "Grace Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  25. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 201634 into search. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés - SNEP (Week 32, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  28. ^ "Chart Track: Week 2, 2016". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  29. ^ "Classifica settimanale WK 34" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  30. ^ " – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  31. ^ " – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  32. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  33. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201539 into search.
  34. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 201633 into search. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  35. ^ " – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  36. ^ " – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  37. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  38. ^ "Grace Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  39. ^ "Grace Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  40. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2015". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  41. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 2015". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  42. ^ "End of Year Singles Chart Top 100 – 2016". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  43. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2019 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  44. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Grace – You Don't Own Me (Feat. G-Eazy)". Music Canada. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  45. ^ "Italian single certifications – Grace – You Don't Own Me (Feat. G-Eazy)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 29 September 2016. Select "Tutti gli anni" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "You Don't Own Me (Feat. G-Eazy)" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  46. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  47. ^ "Polish single certifications – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  48. ^ "British single certifications – Grace feat. G-Eazy – You Don't Own Me". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  49. ^ "American single certifications – Grace – You Don't Own Me". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 10 July 2016. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]