Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me (Chords and Tab)

Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me (Chords)

More than fifty years after its release and Lesley Gore’s impassioned demand for female self-ownership is still depressingly relevant.

You Don’t Own Me is a masterclass is using music to convey the meaning of the song. The depressed verses are played in a minor key while the forthright choruses switch to major. The song also shifts up half a step three times. Each time making her sound more strident and forceful.

As effective as the key changers are, they do make this song tricky to play. A chunk of the tune is in G#. A key that is uke unfriendly and odd in terms of musical theory. For reasons I might go into at a later date, the Fm chord in the middle should really be referred to as an E#m. I went with Fm though to avoid confusion.

In researching this post, I found out a recent cover of this by Grace managed to stack up a quarter of a billion views without me knowing it existed.

Suggested Strumming

I like to count this tune in 6/8 time as 1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3.

For the main strum use this three beat long pattern:

d – d u d –

Intro: You can do just six down-strums per bar for four bars. Alternatively, you can pull of from the A-string, 1st fret to the open A-string and follow that with a bar of six down-strums and a bar of four. Which sounds like this:

Intro strum

Verse and Solo: Main strum twice each for the first three chords (G – Cm – D7 in the key of G). Then once each for the next two before returning to the start of the progression. For the final chord, do the main strum four times. Which goes like this:

Verse strum

Chorus, Middle and Outro: Main strum four times for each chord.

Twiddly Bits

The solo mostly restates the melody. The trickiest part is the run at the end which requires a big jump up the fretboard.


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