I'm a Woman

Album: I'm a Woman (1963)
Charted: 54
  • This song was a minor hit for Peggy Lee, reaching #54 on the U.S. pop charts in 1963. It was written by the knock-out duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Originally it was recorded by Christine Kittrell in 1962. Peggy Lee covered "I'm a Woman" in her live shows at Basin Street East, and eventually it became the title of her 1963 album as well.
  • This song was also used in Enjoli perfume commercials in the 1970s. You'll remember these commercials (there's one just to the right) as having numerous female models lip-snyching to the song while acting out its parts, and the tagline "The 8-hour perfume for the 24-hour woman." By 1980, the commercial campaign had added its own lyrics, such as "I can work 'til five o'clock. Come home and read your Tickety-Tock."
  • Peggy Lee originally wanted to record the song using only a rhythm section. Mike Stoller met with her and convinced her to add in a horn and sax, which he wrote in while Leiber concentrated on the vocal interpretation.
  • Apparently, Peggy Lee was something of a diva to work with. In Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography, Stoller recounts, "Peggy was a woman given to extreme moods. There were times when she treated us with great respect and expressed even greater gratitude. Other times we'd go to the studio to discover that we were in the doghouse."
  • An interesting note is that this song hit right in the middle of the "girl group" phenomenon, while being anything but a typical teeny-bopper tune. It found an audience for mature women looking to take back feminism from the next generation for just a beat.
  • Other covers of this song include Bette Midler on her Peggy Lee tribute album, season 6 of American Idol, an episode of the TV series Ally McBeal, and The Muppet Show, in a duet between Miss Piggy and guest star Raquel Welch.

    Maria Muldaur recorded a popular version of the song in 1965, delivering a more tender vocal that Mike Stoller said "wasn't anything like Peggy but it was marvelous." Muldaur said of this song in her 1974 interview with Rolling Stone: "I relate to a song musically, not politically. I think 'I'm A Woman' is a positive statement of feminine self-reliance. S--t, I sewed all my own clothes and Geoff's shirts when we were with the Jug Band. For years, I guess, I tried to live up to the image of the woman in that song. Now I think I've achieved that and gone beyond it. Now I sing it more as a proclamation, a boast, not a wish or a dream. Actually, I am a little uncomfortable with that line 'I can make a man out of you.' I keep hoping I'll flash on a new line to take its place."


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