Free to Be You and Me



1970s CD about gender is still relevant and fun.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Stories and songs teach self-acceptance, mutual respect, and tolerance.

Violence & scariness

"Ladies First" is a cautionary tale about a goody two-shoes who meets a violent end.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a remastered CD of the original 1972 recording, which broke new ground by introducing a dialogue between parents and kids about gender roles in America.

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What's the story?

Socially conscious and seriously entertaining (and often quite lovely), this array of stories and songs are masterfully performed by Alan Alda, Mel Brooks, Diana Ross, Dick Cavett, Kris Kristofferson, and Harry Belafonte -- all singing their bleeding hearts out. Even a young Michael Jackson (ironically) sings about self acceptance, and not changing a thing about himself. While some parents may assume that FREE TO BE YOU AND ME is a dated bit of 1970s-era feminism, anyone with young children knows they are still working out what is and isn't acceptable behavior for girls and boys -- right down to what color clothing they wear. Songs, poetry, sketch comedy, and storytelling teach by example, and show kids that people shouldn't be put into boxes.

Is it any good?


Most of the songs stand up to the test of time, using humor, rhyme, compelling narrative, and funky 70s grooves to gently teach tolerance and foster open-mindedness, kindness, and mutual respect. A few of the songs, like the macabre carnivalesque "Girl Land" are a little heavy-handed. Likewise, "Ladies First" is a Marlo Thomas-narrated cautionary tale about a goody two-shoes who meets a violent end -- all because of her expectation that ladies get special treatment. This sort of unyielding feminism flies in the face of the album's premise -- that we should be free to be ourselves -- whoever that might be.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about a wide range of topics that will have real relevance in their kids' lives, from gender stereotyping and friendship to bullying and expressing one's feelings.

Music details

Artist:Marlo Thomas and Friends
Release date:April 9, 2006
Label:Sony Legacy
Genre:Children's Music
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byjllsmom April 9, 2008

Good Stuff!

This is as relevant today as it was in the seventies. Using this album as a starting point for discussion is a great way to talk about how to treat others and ourselves respectfully. My son liked the music as early as age three, but the message is helpful now that he is six and making some of his own discoveries and decisions about the world.


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