Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” produced by the legendary Quincy Jones, became a Number Two hit in 1964. Her version pairs self-assertive lyrics — “Don’t tell me what to do/ Don’t tell me what to say” — with a syrupy arrangement: sweeping strings, layered backing vocals.
Wilson replaced all that sweetness with something nasty and ominous. Her electric guitarist opened the song with a gnarled solo, and the keyboardist played haunted-house riffs. Wilson sang the defiant hook with ragged force, as if it came with a thinly veiled “or else.”
This song has special significance for Wilson. “‘You Don’t Own Me’ was originally an early feminist anthem in the 1960s and Seventies,” she said in a statement. “Since then the idea of self possession has grown to be more universal. This song is about refusing to be objectified and owned. By anyone.”
Gore’s classic is one of several oldies that Wilson covers on her upcoming Immortal album, which also includes renditions of tracks originally by David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Tom Petty. “The souls [of these artists] may have departed but the songs will forever be their resonances,” Wilson said in a statement. “These are the poets of our time and their expressions must be handed down. Poetry is lasting and elemental like carvings in rock.”