Your Woman

Album: Women In Technology (1997)
Charted: 1 23
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Songfacts®:

  • White Town is Jyoti Mishra, who sings and records dance music using synthesizers and samples. "Your Woman," which was a #1 hit in his native UK and charted all over the world, is by far his best-known song.
  • The trumpet riff that powers this song (which sounds a little like the Imperial March from Star Wars) was sampled from a 1932 song called "My Woman" by the British bandleader Lew Stone, who recorded it with his Monseigneur Band with Al Bowlly on vocals. Mishra heard it on the soundtrack to a BBC TV series called Pennies From Heaven.

    In the song "My Woman," the guy is hopelessly in love with a woman who has a heart of stone and treats him like dirt. The lyric was written by Bing Crosby, who recorded the original version earlier in 1932.
  • This is a breakup song, with the woman telling the man they're through. Mishra explained: "The lyrics are very nasty and, from a certain perspective, misogynist. I thought it might be an interesting twist to sample the spooky part and write a song around it that had different perspectives. The music was done fairly quickly - the lyrics took bloody ages!"
  • Jyoti Mishra (White Town) is male, but sings the song from a woman's perspective, making it a rare example of a hit record with a gender reversal (Prince explored this territory on his 1987 song "If I Was Your Girlfriend"). Mishra doesn't identify as gay, straight, or anything in between, believing that people are just sexual, and that everyone has a right to their sexual freedom.
  • Mishra recorded this on an 8-track in his spare room in Derby and played it to his girlfriend, who encouraged him to do something with it. He could only afford to press five copies, and he sent one of them to the DJ Simon Mayo at Radio One, who started playing it. It became the most requested track of the week and as a consequence he landed a deal with EMI. It sold 165,000 copies the week it was released shooting to #1 despite his refusal to appear in a video or on British TV to promote it.
  • Lyrically, there are a lot of concepts floating around in this song, particularly when we find out the guy in the song has "highbrow Marxist ways." Mishra was influenced by the authors Andrea Dworkin and Wilhelm Reich, and on his website explained that the song is about, in part:

    1) Being a member of an orthodox Trotskyist / Marxist movement.
    2) Being a straight guy in love with a lesbian.
    3) Being a gay guy in love with a straight man.
    4) Being a straight girl in love with a lying, two-timing, fake-ass Marxist.
    5) The hypocrisy that results when love and lust get mixed up with highbrow ideals.

    He says the first two came from personal experience.
  • Jyoti Mishra was born in India but moved with his family to England when he was 3 years old. He took the stage name "White Town" because he grew up in a very white area.
  • This was used in the 2000 episode of Daria, "Legends Of The Mall," and in the 2018 movie Under The Silver Lake.
  • The video is shot in the style of a 1920s silent film and shot in Mishra's hometown of Derby. It visualizes the story as a race between two women who are trying to win the affection of a man who may not be worth it. Along the way, they face signs pointing in different directions, like "seduction," "relationship," "expectation" and "independence." It was directed by Mark Adcock.
  • Dua Lipa used the same horn sample, but at a faster tempo, on her 2020 song "Love Again."

Comments: 22

  • Mick from IndianaI related this story to Jyoti many many years ago.
    He thoroughly enjoyed it:
    "I first heard this song as an intriguing noise coming from the in-flight headset of a lovely Aussie girl. She was seated across the aisle from me on the trans-Pacific leg of a journey I was taking to Australia. I turned to her and asked what channel she was listening to. The Aussie accent has always done it for me. I blame ON-J & Kylie Minogue.
    We struck up a conversation. She & a dozen or so of her university school mates had taken a trip to the states & were heading home. It wasn't a full boat & the seats next to me were unoccupied. She was curious about this tall mustached cowboy & moved over to my row. We spent the rest of the long flight seated side by side, enjoying each other's company. It was quite the trip.
    Once we got to Melbourne, she asked me to stay there with her instead of continuing on to Perth, but that couldn't happen. We parted ways after a huge hug & a long wonderful kiss, much to the delight of her female mates.
    This was 24 years ago, & we remain long distance friends to this day.
    Whenever I hear "Your Woman", I think of her & that amazing flight."
  • Tom from Georgia I listened to the sample on the dual Lipa (sorry if I spelled it wrong) song and my dad said it was a sample of white town. I didn't know it would be one of my favs. But the Star Wars sample is crazy never would of guessed.
  • J from Las VegasThis song is about narcissism. Totally
  • Bmn from Hisuan, ArgentinaJyoti has said publicly multiple times that it has nothing to do with gay/lesbian (or BT) for that matter. It's just a song, don't make stuff up and present it as fact. I had always wondered too but I didn't make up this narrative in my head about some mythical gay/lesbian friend. Anyway, does anyone know who the "good girl" actress is...she's gorgeous.
  • Lucy from London, United KingdomIt reminds me of Vader's theme too.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesI have always heard the lyrics as a type of genderf&%#, not as necessarily gay or Lesbian, but as putting your mind in a slightly displaced state where you aren't sure. I think it's wonderful.
  • Helj from Trumbull, CtI'm not seeing the lesbian aspect of this one, this is clearly about a gay man that likes another man that prefers women, or a story of a woman being dumped by a man for another woman, being sung by a man.

    When I first heard this I always presumed it was a gay man realizing he couldn't make it work with the guy he liked because the guy was straight ("is it in your genes"), but based on some of the comments by the original singer, it may have been a woman's story that he just felt like singing about.
  • Tom from Marble Falls, ArI always thought this was a Cake song, since it sounds a lot like Cake's, "Frank Sinatra". It came out around the same time, too.
  • Susan from Amsterdam, NetherlandsI always heard it as a guy reading a Dear John letter. The fuzzy vocals made it sound like what was going on in his head. I think the sample also has been used in some old cartoons & films (Pennies from Heaven, aside) when a villain does his thing. Seems a lot of us respond to that without remembering why.
  • Helge from Oslo, NorwayMost fascinating to read how everyone's thinking of Star Wars, and no one (except indirectly the "fact #2") mentions the Al Bowlly/Lew Stone-foxtrot "My Woman" where the star-wars-ish sample actually is from... But hey, who don't want to see Darth Vader foxtrot?
  • Ryan from Albuquerque, Nmthe song has the star wars tunes in the opening beat and throught the song if you hadent noticed already :D
  • Jb from San Jose, Ca I was just listening to this song as I do once in a while when I stumbled onto this site. I was also trying to find the meaning of the lyrics. But I must tell you all that in my 51 years on this earth I rarely try to find meaning in lyrics. To me the music and the singing ARE the song, no matter what the lyrics say. I think this song is great. The popularity proves it. I talk to many people about lyrics and most honestly beleive that artist write lyrics based on their own pesonal lives. Hmm, The Beatles made hundreds of love songs in their 7 year run and I doubt even one was about a personal love experience. Anyway Mishra may have based this song on his life experience but I don't care, GREAT SONG!!! 05/10/2007
  • Birgit from Jakarta, IndonesiaI knew this song the first time in 1997 and til now 2007 I think it's stil really nice to hear and sing again and again, not just for once:) I Was bit surprise the comments here wondering why man sang the word 'I cannot be your woman'.For me it is no big deal, just nice music and song of a guy who really understand gal's thought and quite impressive ideas for the lyric. Bravo Mishra! Saw already also the video long time ago. Nice also :)
  • Laurent Flambourari from Quebec City, CanadaHello everyone... I've heard a version of "Your woman" on a different version like a remix or something like that. It was often played on air on KWOD 106.5 FM, an alternative station from Sacramento, CA. I also heard this same version on another station called KITS Live 105 in San Francisco, CA. It was a remix, but not a long one, the lenght was similar as the radio version. The DJ on air called that something like "Band rose remix" but I never well understood what he said. If someone could help me to find it, that would be very kind :) Laurent (Quebec City, Canada)
  • Casey from Newport Beach, CaI'm very surprised that so many people think that this song is creepy or scary. I always found it catchy...it gets stuck in my head easily.
    Crystal: That's very interesting. I always thought it was a gay man singing to a straight man. =
    Laura: "I could never be a bum"? xDD
    I can't wait to see the video! Does anyone know where I can find it?
  • Laura from Oxford, OhNick from Arlington Heights...if you hadn't said that the sample in this song sounds like Star Wars then I never would have found it. I first heard this song in Taco Bell when I was eight years old, it must have just come out, and I've heard it twice since then, and it's been nine years. This song gave me nightmares for a long time because I thought it was creepy, and I never knew any of the words or the rest of the song besides the sample bit...then a couple weeks ago I heard maybe the last 30 seconds of it on the radio and I caught, "I could never be----" so I looked that up and I found this song, along with some others like, "I could never be a savior" or "bum" etc...and then I found this site, saw Nick's comment, and knew that I'd found it - went home and downloaded it and --- !!! My nine year search for this song has finally ended...thank you!!!
  • Dan from Derby, EnglandThe black & white video was filmed in the city centre of Derby, UK. jyoti lived here.
  • Sum Sum from New Delhi, Indialoved the song. did u guys see the black n white video of its...very funny and meaningful as well but theres nothing lesbian about in the video. but i guess not much people know about Joyti Mishra, specially Indians. I feel he didnt want to create a market in India.
  • Greatwall from Nanjing, ChinaGot it.And it's hard for me to play this song alone.I feel it spooky especially at night.Am I a poltroon?Oh no....
  • Crystal from Chalmette, LaIt was inspired by a female friend of his who was a lesbian. He was interested and attracted to her, but he knew he could never be her woman. Get it now? Hope this helps y'all.
  • Paul from Aberdeen, ScotlandWell I always thought it was about a gay man saying 'I could never be your woman', but then there's that line at the: "Is it in your genes? I don't know, but I'll soon find out that's for sure." That sounds like a song for a girl to sing after she's been dumped by someone who got her pregnant. I think Mishra's toying with us - he's written a song that sounds like it should be sung by a girl, then sung it himself and put some sexual ambiguity into it. :o)
  • Nick from Arlington Heights, IlEverytime I hear this song, the old timey sample they use reminds me of Darth Vader's theme song from Star Wars
see more comments

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