Friday, March 6, 2015

Lesley Gore – "Je Ne Sais Plus" (1965)

Je ne sais plus
Ce qui vient d'arriver entre nous

In the last 2 or 3 lines, our featured song was the late Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me."

Miss Gore recorded that song not only in English, but also in French, Italian, and German.

Lesley Gore
I am as monolingual as a man can be, so I used Google Translate to compare the lyrics of Gore's  foreign-language versions of "You Don't Own Me" to the lyrics of the original English version.

The non-English lyrics seem to bear little resemblance to the English lyrics.  The German version – which is titled "Goodbye, Tony" – seems particularly dissimilar to the original.

Many other singers covered "You Don't Own Me," which some people view as a seminal feminist cri de coeur.  (As I explained in the previous 2 or 3 lines, I am not one of those people.)

Dusty Springfield
Dusty Springfield – whose real name was Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien – covered "You Don't Own Me" a few months after Lesley Gore's version was released in 1963.  

Miss Springfield was seven years older than Miss Gore, but her warm, sensual, mature voice was not as well-suited for "You Don't Own Me."  When you hear Dusty sing, "Don't say I can't go with other boys," the line loses all credibility.  Lesley Gore's uncomplicated teenaged voice and innocent appearance works much better.

It's an odd coincidence that both Gore and Springfield were gay.  Gore's relationship with Lois Sasson (which dated to 1982) was not only long-lasting but seemingly free of drama.

Dusty Springfield and Teda Bracci
Springfield's love life was much more tempestuous.  In 1982, for example, she met actress Teda Bracci at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.  The two later moved in together and exchanged vows at an unofficial wedding ceremony shortly thereafter.  But a few months later, Bracci smashed Springfield in the mouth with a saucepan, knocking out several of her teeth.  The two then separated.

Dalida, the legendary Italian-Egyptian singer who received 70 gold records, recorded "You Don't Know Me" in French and Italian, while other singers covered the song in Dutch, Swedish, Czech, and Japanese.  

Joan Jett's funereal cover of "You Don't Own Me" is shockingly bad:

But for sheer douche-chill-generating power, no cover version of "You Don't Own Me" comes close to the one performed by Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler in the 1996 movie, The First Wives Club

A sign that the apocalypse is just around the corner is the fact that a musical based on that movie is scheduled to open in Chicago any day now.  The book for First Wives Club: The Musical was written by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.  Along with her husband Harry, Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason is responsible not only for "Designing Women" but also for the Bill Clinton hagiography, The Man from Hope.

Here's Lesley Gore's French cover of "You Don't Know Me," which is titled "Je Ne Sais Plus":

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