Lesley Gore Was Ahead of Her Time

Why 'You Don't Own Me' is more important than 'It's My Party'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2015 1:55 PM CST

(Newser) – Headlines with singer Lesley Gore's obituary most often link her to the huge 1963 hit "It's My Party." But it's another song of hers from that same year, "You Don't Own Me," that matters far more, writes Amanda Marcotte at Slate. "It's My Party" was a typical entry in the teen-heartbreak genre, but the defiant "You Don't Own Me" was ahead of its time, portraying "a narrator standing up to her controlling, possessive boyfriend." A few years later, songs such as Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" followed the same path as feminism became popular, writes Marcotte.

The song "is a self-empowerment anthem recorded at a time when the roles women were expected to play in pop were more commonly submissive and adoring, as typified by hits like 'He's So Fine' by the Chiffons," writes Dan DeLuca at the Philadelphia Inquirer. No wonder the song has been covered so much over the decades, including a version by the cast in the movie First Wives Club. The song seemed to take on more importance to Gore herself over the years; she never went out of her way to hide her homosexuality in an era when it wasn't as accepted. "It seemed the song had become her personal mantra," writes Lindsey Bever at the Washington Post.

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