Sunday, April 17, 2016


You Don't Own Me! Grace and Leslie Gore

Grace singing You Don't Own Me!

I am just starting to hear the song, "You Don't Own Me" on the local Top 40 Hits radio station. I am familiar with this tune and I wonder how many others know that it is a remake of a hit song originally released over 50 years ago! Here is the story of "You Don't Own Me!"

Almost 70 years ago to the day, Lesley Sue Goldstein was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. When she was just a junior in High School, using the stage name of Leslie Gore, she reached the top spot of the music charts with her first song, "It's My Party." After a few more hits, Leslie Gore was offered a proto-femenist song called, "You Don't Own Me." Leslie recorded the song when she was 17. In February 1964, the song shot to the top of the pops, stalling at number 2, being blocked from the #1 spot by The Beatles song, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

"Don't tell me what to do! 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!"
"I'm young, and I love to be young; I'm free and I love to be free! To live my life the way that I want; to say and do whatever I please!"

The music is in 3/4 time, a waltz basically. Instrumentation is strings with bass and drums, with lots of reverb. Leslie Gore's vocals float above the music. She has a wistful singing style in parts of this song, but she sounds strong, determined and self confident in other parts.

The producer of this record was none other than the well known music man, Quincy Jones! Quincy Jones is known for having worked with many famous musical names, from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson. Quincy Jones must have had this song in his mind for many many years, because last year, he worked with another young female singer to remake it! But first, here is the original song, You Don't Own Me, by Leslie Gore.

If you were not familiar with the original version, having only heard the new remake that is out today, you may be surprised to hear how closely the remake tracks the original. One possible reason for that is... Both songs were recorded and produced under the musical supervision of Quincy Jones! Leslie Gore passed away last year, and when Quincy Jones heard Australian singer Grace's voice, he felt that she should record a new version of "You Don't Own Me" as a tribute to Leslie Gore.

Grace Sewell is a young Australian singer who grew up listening to music from the 1960s. In 2015, at the age of 17, she began to record tracks with Quincy Jones. One was this remake of "You Don't Own Me," and it was released in March and the video came out in June. The song immediately shot to the top of the Australian charts. But it only began to hit in America after Grace began to promote her upcoming EP in early 2016, including an appearance in January 2016 on Live with Kelly and Michael, where she sang You Don't Own Me, almost identical to the original, without the rap parts in the radio version.

Currently, the official video for the Grace cover of You Don't Own Me has 30 MILLION views! The song is in the top 30 on the American charts, surely destined to become a major hit, and a great debut for Grace! Here now, is the new cover of You Don't Own Me, originally by Leslie Gore, now by Grace, featuring G-Eazy.

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Wow, Grace did an amazing job on that song. I remember listening to the song when Leslie sang it. I am not usually keen on remakes, but was glad Grace sang it as a tribute. Both voices are beautiful and I bet Leslie is smiling down on Grace.

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