After she’d divorced my deadbeat dad and we’d relocated from Connecticut to Massachusetts, my mom took me to my first NOW meeting when I was in the 3rd grade. She also bought me the album Free To Be You and Me which embraces independent spirits and gender neutrality. I loved this record in elementary school.
A few days ago I heard the podcast of Marlo Thomas on NPR and all the memories of the songs on this album and the importance of this project streamed right back into my mind. Marlo Thomas and her celebrity friends including Alan Alda, Rosey Grier, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Carol Channing, Michael Jackson, and Diana Ross created fantastic songs that still resonate as they’re also still relevant and necessary. There’s still rapant sexism, racism and bullying in the United States.
“Free To Be… You And Me” – Music by Stephen J. Lawrence, Lyrics by Bruce Hart, Performed by The New Seekers
“Boy Meets Girl” – Written by Carl Reiner and Peter Stone, Performed by Mel Brooks and Marlo Thomas
“When We Grow Up” – Music by Stephen J. Lawrence, Lyrics by Shelly Miller, Performed by Roberta Flack and Michael Jackson on the special and Diana Ross on the soundtrack CD.
“Don’t Dress Your Cat In An Apron” – Written by Dan Greenburg, Performed by Billy De Wolfe
“Parents Are People” – Music and Lyrics by Carol Hall, Performed by Harry Belafonte and Marlo Thomas
“Housework” – Written by Sheldon Harnick, Performed by Carol Channing
“Helping” – Written by Shel Silverstein, Performed by Tom Smothers
“Ladies First” – Performed by Marlo Thomas (based on a Shel Silverstein poem
“Dudley Pippin And The Principal” – Written by Phil Ressner, Performed by Billy De Wolfe, Bobby Morse, and Marlo Thomas
“It’s All Right To Cry” – Music and Lyrics by Carol Hall, Performed by Rosey Grier
“Sisters And Brothers” – Music by Stephen J. Lawrence, Lyrics by Bruce Hart, Performed by Sisters and Brothers
“William’s Doll” – Music by Mary Rodgers, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Performed by Alan Alda and Marlo Thomas (based on the children’s book)
“My Dog Is A Plumber” – Written by Dan Greenburg, Performed by Dick Cavett
“Atalanta” – Written by Betty Miles, Performed by Alan Alda and Marlo Thomas
“Grandma” – Written by Carole Hart, Performed by Diana Sands
“Girl Land” – Music by Mary Rodgers, Lyrics by Bruce Hart, Performed by Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones
“Dudley Pippin And His No-Friend” – Written by Phil Ressner, Performed by Bobby Morse and Marlo Thomas
“Glad To Have A Friend Like You” – Music and Lyrics by Carol Hall, Performed by Marlo Thomas