I remember them. They’ve haunted me since I first saw them in the late 70s. At the time this commercial came out, the Women’s Liberation Movement was still real and fresh and new. Halter tops were all the rage, though I didn’t understand why. I was naive about certain things, yes, and when I bought one and wore it in public in a small North Georgia town we lived in, the county went nuts and my mother screamed and next thing I know it disappeared out of my dresser drawers.
The Enjoli commercial version was a modification of the classic Blues Pattern song “I’m a Woman” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, first recorded by Christine Kittrell and then Peggy Lee in 1962, later covered by others. Raquel Welch and Miss Piggy covered it on The Muppet Show. (Scroll to end of post to see that video.) The original song lyrics can be read in their entirety here.
Johnny Cash and Peggy Lee did this short version. It was great.
The thing is, I liked Jerry and Mike’s version because it was so over the top as to be fun yet at the same time was a truthful-in-spirit homage to the strength we know really does exist in most women.
But the Madison Avenue twisting of a brilliant song into the Enjoli commercial was so literal as to be intimidating. I hated it when it came out and I’ve hated it to this day. And you want to know where it was aired? On Monday Night Football. For men to buy. Here! Go buy this for your woman! She’ll be your slave.
Madison Avenue’s version went even further than the original by implying that all a man had to do to get Mama to gonna rock his world was read the kiddies a bedtime story. See how helpful he is? He’s going to give her time to clean off the sweat from the day and get into something easy to take off.
Of course the Madison Avenue version would turn into an ear worm. Of course I haven’t been able to forget it. Of course it still haunts me. Ugggg.
As promised, here’s Raquel Welch and Miss Piggy’s version of the original: